Billy Joel To Perform Monthly Residency At Madison Square Garden
Billy Joel has announced that he will play an open-ended "show a month" residency at New York's Madison Square Garden for as long as there is demand for him. In a long press conference yesterday (December 3rd) at the famed Manhattan arena, Billy was flanked by Garden execs, former New York sports stars, and good friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he announced the unique run, which also included the unveiling of the Garden's Billy Joel logo linking him with the venue's other franchises -- the Knicks, the Rangers, and the WNBA's Liberty.
In addition to his previously scheduled Garden shows set for the first four months at the arena, a 61st birthday show for May 9th was also announced yesterday.
Billy spoke to USA Today and explained the allure for the permanent Garden run: "Next year, I'll turn 65. That's when a lot of people retire. I've been touring almost all my life. The idea of being on the road for long periods of time isn't appealing to me at this point. I can commute to work, like everyone else does. You take the schlep factor out."
He went on to touch upon the type of shows he's planning on playing in the future: "When I was on tour with Elton (John), we pretty much did the same show every night. That becomes rote; I don't want to be on automatic pilot. We're going to change the set list, and I want to do more obscure songs. I'd like to get to the point where at least 50 percent of the show is obscurities."
Billy Joel, who's played such legendary New York City venues as the Bottom Line, Carnegie Hall -- as well as both Yankee and Shea Stadium -- explained why Madison Square Garden stands alone in terms of prestige and history: "Growing up as a young aspiring musician in Hicksville, New York, Madison Square Garden appeared larger than life. And like many other aspiring musicians, I dreamed of playing the Garden. But it was more than that -- Madison Square Garden was New York to me. It's the place where artists become stars and players become legends. In 1978, I achieved my dream of playing this iconic venue for the first time. I thought it didn't get any better than that moment. Now, 35 years later, I've had the incredible fortune to experience 46 of those incredible moments right here. Including both The Concert For New York and 12-12-12, which were so important to this city."
Billy took time out to sing the praises of both Madison Square Garden, as well as his legion of fans: "I said it in '78 and I'll say it here again; there's no better venue in the world. The Garden has it all -- the best audiences, the best acoustics, the best reputation, an undeniable history that is palpable from the moment that you step out on stage. I'm just going to digress from my notes for a second -- I'm getting a lot of credit here, for how good I'm superposed to be, but I think a good deal of it is from the audience that comes to the Garden. They're a great audience. And if you have a great audience you usually give a better show. And believe me, I've played some venues, where the audience is like, 'ehhh' (claps). And the show was kind of, 'ehhh' -- but here, it's mutual. It's just a. . . it's mutual excitement. We get excited from the crowd and they seem to like what we're doing."
UPDATED: Billy Joel tour dates (subject to change):
December 31 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
January 7, 11 - Sunrise, FL - BB&T Center
January 17 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
January 22 - Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
January 27 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
February 3 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
March 21 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
April 18 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
May 9 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
Photo Courtesy of BillyJoel.com