Last night Billy Joel played his 40-something sold out show at Madison Square Garden and Brown Brothers Recordings was there. It was an entertainment simultaneously like every other and no other because Billy Joel is both the common man and unique. For a long time there was a stigma in being a Billy Joel fan because he didn’t write poetry and he didn’t rock hard enough. Then people figured out that his widespread appeal is his genius and that analysis was not as important to understanding his gifts as it was to, say, Bob Dylan. Last night Billy looked a fright, close ups revealing a stroke-like visage. But he sounded excellent in voice and piano and backing band, inspiring, nee lifting, the quality of the musicians onstage the way only the best leaders can. See Billy if you can, as many times as you can, if you want to truly escape and get lost in a world carved out by great melodies and stories. When he stops performing there won’t be another like him.
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