Billy Joel welcomed Bruce Springsteen onstage last night (July 18th) at New York’s Madison Square Garden for his record-breaking 100th career gig at the hallowed Manhattan venue. “The Boss” returned the favor for Billy presenting him his Tony Award last month by joining Billy and the band for a pair of classics from 1975’s Born To Run. First up was the rollicking “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” — featuring Springsteen at one point sitting on top of the “Piano Man’s” baby grand, followed by the album’s iconic title track — with the Long Island and Jersey legends trading verses on both tunes. Prior to leaving, Springsteen — Billy’s labelmate on Columbia Records for an astounding 45 years — kissed him on the head as Billy went on to finish what was his 60th show in his current Garden residency.
Yesterday afternoon (July 18th), before the show, a special presentation and press conference was held in the lobby of Madison Square Garden, where Billy was saluted by his good friend — and godfather to his two young daughters — Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Newsday reported Cuomo declared it “Billy Joel Day” and “unveiled a Steinway piano and a plaque that will sit in front of its main entrance off Chase Square.” Cuomo, who was clearly thrilled for his friend, calling him “the quintessential New Yorker” and said in part, after a heckler shouted something out: “That’s 40 years in this town in front of the toughest audiences on the globe. As you heard from that gentleman there. You can’t fool New Yorkers for 40 years.”
Billy’s friend, actor and Bronx Tale creator Chazz Palminteri added: “People talk about his artistry, but he’s also a good man and that’s important. It’s because of who he is and what he stands for. Billy is the working man.”
Billy Joel spoke at yesterday’s press conference about how Madison Square Garden represents far more than a just solid venue in the “Big Apple”: “Look, let’s be real — I’m from New York, I was born in the Bronx, I grew up in Long Island, so this is my venue. Madison Square Garden. Fortunately for me, Madison Square Garden is a world venue. You can play almost any other arena in the country and nobody else in the world was gonna know about it — but when you play Madison Square Garden, the entire world knows that you play Madison Square Garden. So, I’m very fortunate. And the wildest thing is that 10 years ago to this day — July 18th — we closed Shea Stadium. And now, here we are celebrating 100 shows at Madison Square Garden.”
Photo Courtesy of Sony Legacy