SUNRISE, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Billy Joel rocked in the New Year at BB&T Center in Sunrise, proving that age is irrelevant when, well, you’re Billy Joel.
Joel, 68, sounded as powerful and vibrant as he did when he sold out show after show after show at venues like Philadelphia’s Spectrum in the 80s. The BB&T Center was sold out as well — filled not only by fans who likely saw him in the 80s, but their kids, too. Joel is one of those rare artists whose music truly spans generations. BB&T’s cameras focused on kids singing along one second, others seemingly on leave from Century Villiage singing the next.
Without an album to promote, Billy Joel was clearly having fun. He sang whatever he felt like singing. He sang his songs. He mocked Elton John. He broke into Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze when announcing that his daughter, Alexa, got engaged hours earlier and that he — knocking on the door of 70 — has a 2 year old and a 2 month old.
Joel also proved that he respects his band. Every member — as has been the case since the 80s — was prominently featured with solos or, at the very least, lots of attention.
Billy Joel said on television interviews recently that he slightly alters the music he belted in his 40s to better suit his voice at 68. You’d be hard pressed to figure out what changed as he opened with Miami 2017, rocked out Only The Good Die Young, Scenes From An Italian Restuarant (the entire 8 minute version), Pressure, Zanzibar, Allentown, Innocent Man, We Didn’t Start The Fire, River Of Dreams, and seemingly every other song he wrote and recorded. Yet incredibly after his 3 hour set — yes, three hours — fans realized he only scratched the surface of his body of work.
Of note: the omnipresent cup of beer that accompanied him on stage throughout the 80s and 90s was replaced with a white ceramic coffee cup.
Billy Joel may be the elder statesman of rock/pop at this point, but he’s an elder statesman who leads by example. He knows what he’s doing, clearly respects his audience, and is still having fun.
If given the choice next year as 2018 becomes 2019 of hanging out at home, going to a pretentious party in any of South Florida’s hundreds of HOA clubhouses or country clubs, or rocking it out with Billy Joel, the choice is a no brainer. Welcome in the New Year with 20,000 fans and an aging performer whose music — and performance ability — never gets old.