A bit delayed in getting this post up – but a few weeks back I got the chance (thanks to some stellar partners at work) to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.

It was a fantastic show and a wonderful experience. It was the 100th consecutive show of his current residency at MSG, meaning for 100 months in a row he’s performed at the venue. That’s eight years and four months – a solid run. Per Joel’s site every single one of this concerts at MSG has been sold out.

CBS will air the recording of the show next weekend

It was also being recorded for TV, which meant some special guest appearances were to be expected.

Thanks to those same stellar partners, we started the evening with pre-event drinks in the NY Rangers Locker Room

I was tempted to try to snuggle in a Boston Bruins hat for a selfie, but didn’t want to risk getting kicked out (or worse).

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd
Great seats – section 108, row 8 – just off to the side.

I worried at first that Joel’s back would be to us all night, but (of course) the piano is on a rotating platform so everyone gets a chance to see both sides.

Full house at Madison Square Garden
a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd
Note here the Piano’s turned the other way

At your seats, there’s a little wrist light, that can be remotely controlled by the lighting designer – they can turn it on and off, flash, change colors, etc – of course people also supplement with lighters and phone flashlights.

Tried hard to find the balance between constantly taking video and images versus just enjoying the show.

My Life, Billy Joel at MSG 3-28-204

The first special guest was none other than Jerry Seinfeld, who did not attempt to sing with Joel but to celebrate his accomplishments and his connection to New York (and especially Long Island).

Jerry Seinfeld celebrating Billy Joel, at MSG, 3-28-24

As Seinfeld left the stage, after a glowing tribute to Joel about identification of his music with our lives and especially NY, Joel quipped “thanks for buying my house.” (I felt a bit like an imposter, in a NYC crowd, having never actually lived in NY, but I get it).

Vienna, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

Early in the show they get Joel up from the piano to sing some standing up. He told the story of his first show at MSG, which was Gene Autry, the singing cowboy.

Billy Joel’s Gene Autry impression, at MSG, 3-28-24

Joel joked about how when writing the songs that became An Innocent Man he wasn’t thinking about how he’d have to sing it as a much older man someday. “Let’s see how it goes,” he said – I’m interested to see myself.”

An Innocent Man, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

Of course it went perfectly – with the crowd singing along.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Warming up to “For the Longest Time” the band broke into “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with Joel noting “I did not write that song – I wish I had!”

For the Longest Time, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

I’d heard rumours Mick Jagger was in town, and might be a special guest, but was pleasantly surprised that the other special guest was none other than Sting!

Sting with Billy Joel on Big Man on Mulberry Street, at MSG, 3-28-24

Sting and Joel talked about what to do next, Joel acting like there was no plan and saying “Let’s do one of your songs – any one – I love all your songs.” Sting: “Everything you do is magic so let’s do that one.”

Sting & Billy Joel, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, at MSG, 3-28-24
Moving Out, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24
Don’t Ask Me Why, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

One of the most anticipated songs of the night – “New York State of Mind” – started with Joel facing away from us.

New York State of Mind, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

But thanks to the rotating piano it didn’t stay that way

New York State of Mind, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24
Only The Good Die Young, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

When Joel brings out the harmonica, everyone knows where we’re headed – to Piano Man, as the finale of the set. Joel plays up that anticipation – this is not his first rodeo.

Piano Man, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

It’s virtually impossible to hear Piano Man without singing along

Piano Man, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

As the band left the stage after Piano Man, I was thinking about what they could still have for an encore. They had played virtually everything I expected to hear – the only things they didn’t play being songs likely too soft / precious for an arena crowd (Honesty, Just the Way You Are).

Joel started the encore with heavy distorted guitar, like he was going to go into a solo – but that grew into my least favorite Billy Joel tune “We Didn’t Start the Fire” – which actually played pretty well as an opener to an encore.

We Didn’t Start the Fire, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

While they’d done “For the Longest Time” and “An Innocent Man” earlier in the show, they held “Uptown Girl” for the encore. (This one was on my list as well that I expected to hear).

Uptown Girl, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

Penultimate song? “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me”

It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

And the finale? “You May Be Right”

You May Be Right, Billy Joel at MSG, 3-28-24

What a fantastic show – clearly Joel and the band take seriously their role as performers and have their performance at peak execution.

Well worth checking out when it airs on CBS next weekend, or streaming.