Billy Joel tried something different for Tuesday's night hometown warm-up concert as he prepares for a European tour. According to Rolling Stone, the Long Island legend told the crowd at the tiny Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York. "We're not going to play all hits tonight. I'm tired of that [expletive]. We want to mix in some other stuff that we haven't done for a long time."
Announced on just a few hours' notice, the show was an instant sell-out and marked, outside of some festival dates, his first rock concert since a 2010 date with Elton John. In strong voice, but walking gingerly as he recovers from hip replacement surgery, Billy opened with "Everybody Loves You Now" from his 1971 debut Cold Spring Harbor. He went deep in his catalog for "Vienna" (from The Stranger). "The Entertainer" (from Streetlife Serenade), "Stop in Nevada" (from Piano Man) and "Great Wall of China" (from River of Dreams). Not only was the performance strong, but Billy seemed to enjoy himself much more than in those 2010 gigs.
Maybe the biggest surprise was "Blonde Over Blue," a tribute to his former wife Christie Brinkley taken from River of Dreams. After finishing what may have been his first live performance of the song, Billy told the audience, "I like that one. I'm going to keep it."
Later, there was time to pop in the hits -- "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," "Only the Good Die Young," "You May Be Right" and, his signature number, "Piano Man."
This could be the start of Billy's touring comeback. Besides the previously announced European shows running October 29th through November 5th, Songkick.com says Billy will do a January 7th show at the BB&T Center in the Miami suburb of Sunrise, Florida.