Tonight, we saw Billy Joel perform — his 20th sold-out show in a row — at Madison Square Garden. Itzhak fricking Perlman came out to play on several songs, and rocked the shit out of the fiddle bits in “Downeaster Alexa,” and possibly the beautifully plaintive tone he pulls out of his instrument made me tear up a little.
And finally, Mr. Joel played “Piano Man,” and I have never felt so close to 10,000 white people from Long Island as when we all belted the “and the piano sounds like a carnival” line. I totally, unironically sang along at the top of my lungs to “Allentown,” and I was feeling it despite the fact that at no point in his life was my father an unemployed steel mill worker from Pennsylvania. DAMN YOU AND MAGIC FINGERS AND YOUR CATCHY PORTRAYALS OF A STEREOTYPICAL KIND OF WORKING CLASS EXPERIENCE WHICH SOUND AUTHENTIC DESPITE YOUR MULTIMILLIONAIRE STATUS, BILLY JOEL.
If you ever need 10,000 white people from the tri-state area to come to consensus on anything, put them in an arena and have Billy Joel play “Only the Good Die Young.” I’m pretty sure you could get them (us) to agree to anything after that. (I don’t even think they even need to be people who like Billy Joel to begin with; they’d probably fall in line just to get the music to stop so the arena stops shaking, because seriously, the US is not good with infrastructure.)
I am undone. I need to go to a crust punk show in a VFW basement to restore some kind of equilibrium.