Billy Joel Continues to Show Why He’s the “Energizer Bunny” of Rock in Tampa Concert

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Billy Joel doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t feel the need to record new music. He doesn’t feel the need to “impress” anyone anymore. The only thing he feels the need to do is perform, and he did his best “Energizer Bunny” routine in a sellout show at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL on February 7.

The arena was abuzz with the second stop by Joel in as many years at Amalie Arena (normally Joel will rotate between the main Tampa concert arena and Orlando’s Amway Center) and the “Piano Man” heightened the anticipation with a bit of a late start. Originally scheduled for 8PM, the show actually went off about a half-hour behind schedule. Once it began, however, Joel took the audience on a slightly longer than two-hour ride of a lifetime through his greatest hits (and some deeper cut gems).

Joel has been quite honest about his feelings regarding the current holder of the office of POTUS (and politics in general) and it was entirely predictable that, after the acquittal earlier in the week, Joel wanted to make a statement. He did just that with “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” getting asses out of the seats from the start while Joel himself grabbed a guitar and hammered out the tune rather than his normal seat behind a baby grand.

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From there, Joel took the audience on a tour of his 20 year recording history (and it is surprising that is the extent of it – from 1971’s Cold Spring Harbor to 1993’s The River of Dreams, it seems like the Joel Era went on longer than that). Along the way Joel reflected on his advancing age (“I just turned 70…FUCK, that’s old!”), the fact that he was feeling a bit under the weather (but fought through it) and kept the audience enthralled with his recollections of how some of the most memorable music in the history of rock came about.

Joel wasn’t above poking some fun at himself, either. At one point, he gave the audience the option of two songs. One was the FM-radio staple “Just the Way You Are,” while the other was the deeper cut from the same The Stranger album “Vienna.” When the crowd reaction overwhelmingly went with the deep cut, Joel seemed relieved in commenting, “I’m glad you chose that. I feel like such a hypocrite” – an unspoken nod to his multiple marriages – “when I play ‘those’ songs!”

To say that Joel is still the 1980s prime Joel would be a false statement. He’s lost just a touch off the fastball, but he is such a consummate performer that he is able to make it work. He also has surrounded himself with arguably the best “road band” that you could have, with music director/keyboardist Dave Rosenthal, guitarist Mike DelGiudice (who provided Joel with a break in performing an absolutely stunning classical vocal piece), percussionist Crystal Taliefero and saxophonist Mark Rivera (prowling the stage with his sizzling work) being the highlights of the show. But, compared to others from “his era” (including Roger Daltrey, Paul Simon and Bob Seger), Joel is taking care of his vocal instrument and can still bring it when he needs it.

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That’s a good thing because Joel is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He loves getting in front of fans and playing his songs (he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Mikael Wood that what he does today “isn’t touring. “Touring is when you go out and you stay out,” Joel said in that 2017 interview. “You miss your family; it goes on and on and on and on. Now I play and then I go home. It’s a pussycat schedule.”) and he enjoys not having the pressures of having to come up with new material, satisfying record companies and the fickle fates of the consuming audience. Billy Joel doesn’t give a shit about those things anymore – and his fans are the beneficiaries when he comes to town.

SET LIST

“We Didn’t Start the Fire”
“My Life”
“The Entertainer”
“Zanzibar”
“Vienna”
“Movin’ Out”
“Summer Highland Falls”
“Don’t Ask Me Why”
“The Downeaster Alexa”
“Say Goodbye to Hollywood”
“New York State of Mind”
“Modern Woman”
“She’s Always a Woman”
“Allentown”
“I Feel Fine” (Beatles cover)
“Just a Fantasy”
“Only the Good Die Young”
“The River of Dreams” (interspersed with ZZ Top’s “Tush”)
“Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”
“Piano Man”

ENCORE

“Uptown Girl”
“It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me”
“Big Shot”
“You May Be Right” (interspersed with Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”)

Metallica’s James Hetfield Back in Rehab, Forcing Postponement of Tour Dates

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Unfortunately, fans of Metallica in Australia and New Zealand are going to have to put their plans on seeing the band on tour on hold for a bit.

According to reports from the band’s website, singer/guitarist James Hetfield has reentered rehab. Hetfield has long battled the demons of drug and alcohol usage and,  according to fellow band members, “had to reenter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.” The trip to rehab will postpone several dates the band had scheduled in October and November in Australia and New Zealand.

Full story here:

Metallica’s James Hetfield Back in Rehab, Forcing Postponement of Tour Dates

Led Zeppelin Heads Back to Court Over “Stairway to Heaven”

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It seems that the lawsuit for Led Zeppelin regarding the creation of “Stairway to Heaven” has taken on a life of its own! An appeals court today heard arguments regarding the estate of Randy California, former leader of the band Spirit, and his contention regarding the creation of the legendary song. More details here:

Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Goes to Court (Again) on Monday

 

The Rise and Fall of Woodstock 50

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“You can’t ‘magic’ one of these into happening, and that’s what they tried to do with this.” – David Crosby, performer at the original Woodstock and scheduled to perform at Woodstock 50

It was supposed to be a celebration of one of music’s most iconic moments. It turned into one of its biggest fiascos. So what happened? Why did Woodstock 50 completely fall apart? A simple answer would be that it is 2019 and not 1969 and laws have changed since then. For a longer answer, look here:

‘It Was One Problem After Another’: How Woodstock 50 Fell Apart

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s the Best of Irish Rock!

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As St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, you can be sure that people will be swilling green beer (and the real Irish faithful, Irish whiskey), eating a crapload of corned beef and cabbage and pinching the naysayers who aren’t wearing green on the ass! There will also be some fantastic music played from many who call the Emerald Isle home…here’s a list of some of the greatest musical acts in the history of Irish rock!

Filter has Show in Texas Canceled for Their Anti-Trump Views

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Quite honestly, the band Filter hasn’t been on the radar screen of the music world since 1995 (anyone remember “Hey Man Nice Shot?”). But the decision by the Speaking Rock Casino management to cancel the band’s concert just hours before showtime – apparently over their views regarding the current elected leader of the States of America – is causing quite a ruckus. Check out the story here!