Main Street News

Billy Joel’s 100th Residency Show at Madison Square Garden

By Published On: April 10th, 2024

Over six months ago, following our trek out to see Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, I decided to purchase tickets for my parents and I to go see Billy Joel’s 100th consecutive residency show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. With his residency coming to an end this July, I figured it was a ‘now or never’ kind of situation to see the legend perform at Madison Square Garden. 

Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad (and me). 

So on Thursday, we hopped on the train and headed to the city. It was – of course – raining, and the city was packed with people. We later learned that there were various political fundraisers being held, leading to road closures and an excessive amount of traffic. 

We arrived at Madison Square Garden around 7:30, with just enough time to wait on line for the bathroom and find our seats before the show started. 

Before the show began, Billy Joel’s lighting director came out on stage to tell the audience that this show was particularly special, as it was going to be filmed to air on CBS on April 14. We’re going to be famous! Only not really, considering that we were in the 200s section in the upper level and likely won’t appear in any of the shots at all. But still, very exciting nonetheless! 

The piano man himself 

Promo photo from @thegarden on Instagram

He kicked off the show with “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” from his 1976 album Turnstiles. From there, he launched into “My Life” from the 52nd Street album and “Vienna” from The Stranger album.

For his first surprise guest, Billy brought out none other than Long Island comedian Jerry Seinfeld. 

Seinfeld gave a brief, but heartfelt speech about Billy Joel and his impact on the music world. “His music captures how we all feel living in this particular part of the world. Long Island, New York. His music is our best friend,” Seinfeld said. 

As he left the stage to applause, Billy Joel quipped: “Thanks for buying my house.” 

After Jerry Seinfeld left the stage, he launched back into the music with “The Downeaster ‘Alexa.’” Following this, he performed “An Innocent Man” from the album of the same name. First, however, he gave a speech about how when he wrote the song, he wrote it for a much higher register, not taking into account that your voice deepens as you age. He joked that he gives a disclaimer at the beginning of the song each time he performs it, just in case he doesn’t hit the notes. But don’t worry, he nailed all of the vocals anyway. 

Next, he brought part of his band out front to practice their harmonies with a quick rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” before launching into “The Longest Time.” 

After this, he performed his new song, “Turn the Lights Back On,” which he released in February of this year. 

For his second surprise guest of the night, he brought out Sting! They first performed “Big Man on Mulberry Street” from The Bridge album, and then launched into a duet of The Police classic “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.”

After bidding adieu to Sting, he performed “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” from The Stranger album, “Half a Mile Away” from the 52nd Street album, and “The Entertainer” from the Streetlife Serenade album. 

Billy introduced the next song by sharing that it’s his eight year old daughter’s favorite. He also shared that he always wanted to write a folk-style song, and this was the closest he ever got to it. It was “Don’t Ask Me Why,” from the Glass Houses album, which is one of my personal favorite albums of Joel’s. 

He followed up with “Allentown” from The Nylon Curtain, “New York State of Mind,” from Turnstiles, and “Only the Good Die Young,” from The Stranger. 

Then, he performed “River of Dreams,” from the album of the same name, with an interlude of “River Deep, Mountain High,” performed by Crystal Taliefero, one of Joel’s longtime band members. 

Highlighting another of his band members, the next song was “Nessun dorma,” a Giacomo Puccini cover performed by Mike DelGuidice, who is one of Joel’s guitarists and back-up vocalists. Before signing on with Joel, he performed in various Billy Joel cover bands and tribute projects all over Long Island and New York. 

He finished out the show with “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” from The Stranger, and “Piano Man,” from the album of the same name. During “Piano Man,” he stepped away from the microphone and let the audience sing for a chorus or two. The sound of everyone singing was so loud and clear, it was just amazing to be reminded of how much music can truly bring us all together. 

Of course, he pretended to leave the stage for a minute or two before coming back out for the encore. He started the encore with “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” from Storm Front, “Uptown Girl,” from An Innocent Man, and finished out with “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” from Glass Houses, “Big Shot,” from 52nd Street, and “You May Be Right,” also from Glass Houses, with an interlude of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” performed by Mike DelGuidice. 

There are four more shows in Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden residency. Tickets are still available on his website here.