A rock concert on its own is a special experience, but there is nothing quite like seeing a legend in his hometown. Talk to any Bruce Springsteen fan and they will tell you that you have to see “The Boss” in his home state of New Jersey for the true experience. Talk to a Long Islander and they’ll tell you there is one man you must see – Billy Joel.
Perhaps that is why Joel was chosen to close the Nassau Coliseum and then open the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum presented by New York Community Bank. “The Piano Man” has a residency west of Long Island at Madison Square Garden, but Joel had to be the man to open the arena, where he has now played 33 shows – a first for the venue.
Most concerts are filled with the hits, an encore or two and then a “goodnight.” While a concert can be fun regardless of how special it is, there was no denying that this was an important one for Joel and the thousands of people that sang along with him.
Long Island is Billy Joel; Billy Joel is Long Island. It is a match made in musical heaven, and one that was on full display when he opened the renovated arena.
Diving right into the hits and fitting for a show in 2017, “Miami 2017” was the show opener. Some rarities made an appearance, like “No Man’s Land,” which Joel said he wrote about the Island.
Veterans walked out to sing “Goodnight Saigon” with the band and were met with a standing ovation from the entire audience.
It should be noted that this crowd was unusually reserved and most of the upper sections did not stand for a majority of the show, but Long Island’s finest had a “U.S.A.” chant echo throughout the new grounds.
“This is the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, you know,” Joel said.
“This place sounds a lot better than the old Coliseum,” Joel said. The sound was great, which was nothing short of what was expected from the band. Before “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” Joel talked about all the bars and places he used to play by the Coliseum and talked about Hofstra too.
Kevin James and Leah Remini “interpreted” “She’s Got a Way,” and Joan Jett, a Long Island native herself, surprised the crowd to join the Piano Man for two songs.
Joel’s fans were also performers themselves, as the show became one massive sing-along.
After a stunning version of “Piano Man,” Joel waved to the crowd – but was not done yet, as he performed an encore of hits and closed the show with his hit song “You May Be Right.”
A native Long Islander was the perfect fit to ring in the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as Joel has been playing the venue for nearly as long as it has been a staple to Long Island for the past 40 years.