Sunday, 11 September 2016

Firestarter

My favourite bit of tonight's Billy Joel gig was when Billy Joel came on and sang some Billy Joel songs.

The show was at Wembley Stadium (it's the first time I'd been inside, having only been to concerts in the Arena, and never having seen a football match there), and was truly great. I've had a soft spot for Joel's work for a long time - he wrote one of my favourite songs, no less, but we'll get to that - but probably wouldn't have thought to see him, if it weren't for the fact my mother-in-law's a fan, and my wife offered to take her to the gig, thus giving me an alibi.

He's an exceptionally good showman, with a voice that's still very much in tact, which was inspiring to hear. He's one of a tight group of "songwriters' songwriters" , such as McCartney and (early) Elton John, with a deep musicality and a varied ouvre, from pop (that's on the right side of jazzy without being conceited) to rock and folk and a little bit of everything in-between. There's an honesty and a depth to his songs that drags you in. He also wrote Homer Simpson's favourite stoner song 'Uptown Girl', and you can't say fairer than that. 

While Joel played just about everything the casual fan could want ('Just the Way You Are', 'The River of Dreams', 'Uptown Girl', 'We Didn't Start the Fire', 'Piano Man', 'Always A Woman to Me' etc etc), he didn't do my favourite: 'Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)'. It may sound maudlin of me, but if this was the last song I heard in my life, I'd probably be happy. It's beautiful; have a listen and you'll see...

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