A gorgeous spring day welcomed one of the great American musical legends to Columbus, Ohio. After more than three decades of producing chart topping albums, Billy Joel’s nearly sold out concert at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, April 20th, 2008 was a hit for fans of all ages. The singing, songwriting, piano man gave a fantastic performance keeping crowds on their feet the entire evening. The dazzling lights display culminating with a rotating piano stage created stunning visuals for audience members close and far from the stage, which was coined for evening as “Toledo” by Mr. Joel.
The program was packed with your favorite greatest hits and a few hidden treasures from the past. Joel weaved a magical journey for the audience taking them to “Allentown,” an “Italian Restaurant,” a “New York State of Mind,” and of course, the “River of Dreams”. Despite what appeared as slight cold, Joel’s technique held firm and his background vocalists covered many moments when the tessitura of the music was vocally taxing. His overall vocal technique is superbly solid from both a classical and pop perspective, his unique timbre remaining unchanging since the ‘70s, definitely attributes to how he has managed such a long and prolific career. The modulation of a few higher ranged classics, “Innocent Man,” “Only the Good Die Young,” and of course “Piano Man” to lower key signatures helped him maintain his voice throughout the evening as well and no one seemed to mind a bit.
Billy’s inter-musical commentary proved quite entertaining, and the charismatic genius gave some hilarious insights to his personal life and opinions on the state of the world. Wowing couples in the room with “Just the Way You Are” was hilarious finalized Other key highlights included the instrumentalists talented abilities to switch instruments for each song, sing in tight harmonies, and contribute great musicality to unique compositions of Mr. Joel. He even let one of his roadies, named Chainsaw, perform AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” in the middle of the show, which was a surprise delight to all rockers in the audience.
A poet, a composer, a comedian, and a brilliant performer granted Columbus
with his presence last Sunday and when he next comes our way, this is a concert
you do not want to miss!
Review by Sarah Altman
Photos by David Heasley