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Concert Reviews

EP 072 – Billy Joel Live At Yankee Stadium (Unboxing + Track By Track Overview)

Filmed over two nights in June 1990, Live at Yankee Stadium was a hit on VHS and on cable TV upon its release later that year. But, it’s been overlooked in the decades after, with only a handful of songs available and a production style that quickly felt dated.



But, that’s all changed with a deluxe release in the fall of 2022. Fans got to see a newly-edited version of the film in theaters, complete with footage of an unreleased song. That new cut is now available on Blu-ray with a 2CD set featuring those tracks plus 11 never-before-heard performances from the historic two night stand. The full, 22-song live album is also out as a 3LP vinyl set. 



Over the summer, we spoke with director Jon Small and producer Steve Cohen about the making of the original film and the story behind its reimagining. Now, we’re getting the full picture with the official, updated release. 



In this episode, we’ll recount our unboxing of the Blu-ray + 2CD package and vinyl edition. Then, we’ll share our comments and observations on each song in the 22-track set. 



Join us as we dig deep into the remixed, remastered, and expanded version of Billy Joel: Live At Yankee Stadium.





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EP 070 – Concert Classics: Roxy Theatre – Northampton, PA – November 28, 1973

There are make-or-break moments in every successful musician’s career. Sometimes they’re huge, cataclysmic events. Other times, they’re subtle nods that point a performer in the right direction. 

For Billy Joel, a pair of shows in November of 1973 was the latter. And, we have the tapes to prove it. Piano Man had just been released, and Billy was grinding out dates opening for the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers. 

Being an opening act wasn’t suiting Billy, so he took up a local DJ on his offer to play a show at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton Pennsylvania, a few miles north of Allentown. 

By all known accounts, it would be his first time headlining a theater. And, put into the context of his career up to that point, it’s safe to say that this engagement informed his business strategy, as well as some of his song material, afterward. 

The DJ, Denny Somach, recorded the shows and rediscovered the tapes a few years ago. He made four of the songs available on YouTube, including one that was never released on an album. 

As intriguing as these early renditions are, the big draw here is Billy’s off the cuff comments that reveal much about his career and outlook up to this point. 

In this episode, we’re exploring both the songs and the conversation on the Roxy tapes. We also spoke with Denny Somach and also Rick Wolfe, who worked at the theater during those concerts and is still there today. 

We also spoke with Denny Somach to learn more about the events leading up to the shows. 

Join us, as we dig deep into the audio artifacts of Billy Joel’s first headlining theater engagement.


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EP 065 – Concert Classics: Live in London, 1984

By 1984, Billy Joel was known for changing styles from album to album. What’s less recognized was how often he changed voices. And, one night that year in England, those voices were all on display. 


Close listening to any Billy Joel record reveals a variety of tones, accents, and affectations in the singing. Add to that the many impressions he’s done over the years in interviews and concerts. 


Many of them were on display, and front and center, when BIlly and the band took the stage at Wembley Arena in June of 1984. Deep into the An Innocent Man tour, the concert was simulcast on radio and television in Europe. 


As a result of it being broadcast, the mix is often more dry and a little muted with the singing more prominent than usual. At the same time, Billy seemed to be leaning into the many different vocal affectations more often than usual. 


The concert itself is a great performance, with the band augmented by a horn section and a guest star and a baby on the way. But in particular, it’s an excellent showcase for Billy’s so-called rubber voice. 


Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel at Wembley Arena in 1984.




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EP 057 – Concert Classics: Kirin Dry Gigs ’88 – Tokyo, Japan

With the appearance of the Kirin Dry Gigs from 1988 appearing on YouTube earlier this year, a long-lost footnote in Billy Joel history has finally resurfaced. 


This one-off gig in Japan finds Billy performing with just one member of his longtime touring band. They’re joined by players who performed on other tours in the 80s, musicians who would go on to tour with Billy in support of Storm Front, and a few guests who would only share the stage this one time. 


That combination of musicians makes BIlly’s only major concert appearance from this year a unique and intriguing listen. The arrangements stay close to the Bridge tour and Russia shows, but streamline in places and stray in others. 


And, the discerning ear may even notice a mistake or two from the temporary ensemble. 


Join us, as we dig deep into BIlly’s show at the Tokyo Domein Japan on July 24, 1988.


Date: July 14, 1988
City/Country: Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Tokyo Dome
Event/Festival: Kirin Dry Gigs ’88


The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • David Lebolt – Keyboards
  • Schuyler Deale – Bass
  • Peter Hewlett – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • John McCurry – Lead Guitar
  • Eric Bazilian – Saxophone


The Setlist: 

  1. A Matter of Trust
  2. Pressure
  3. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
  4. Honesty
  5. The Stranger
  6. An Innocent Man
  7. Big Man On Mulberry Street
  8. Only The Good Die Young
  9. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me
  10. You May Be Right
  11. Big Shot
  12. My Life
  13. Keeping The Fatih
  14. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  15. I Saw Her Standing There





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EP 046 – Vinyl Box Set, Return to The Garden, Billy & Metallica in Vegas …and more!

Billy Joel released his first solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, in November 1971. Almost 50 years to the day, his fans are celebrating a string of exciting new announcements. 


In our most timely episode yet, we’ll cover the latest developments in the Billy Joel world. 


On Friday, November 5, Billy brought his record-breaking residency back to Madison Square Garden after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.


Also on November 5, Billy released the Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1. It’s a boxed set containing new masters of his first six studio albums, Songs in the Attic, and an unreleased concert from 1975. 


In the lead up to the box set, Billy also released a new animated video for Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. 


And, in an announcement that seemed tailor-made for our co host Michael, we learned that Billy and Metallica will soon play at the same venue on the same weekend in Las Vegas. 


It’s a lot at once, and we’re here to share in the excitement. Join us, as we dig deep, into the latest and greatest Billy Joel news.


Check out our video unboxing of Billy Joel – The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1 here:




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EP 043 – Concert Classics: Thunder Road – Live in Miami, 1977

The fact that a Billy Joel bootleg is named after a Bruce Springsteen song should clue in the listener that this show’s a little different from what you may expect. 


Recorded at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall in Miami, FL on October 31, 1977,  Thunder Road isn’t a radical change from the Billy we know. But, there’s a big focus on a part of live act that never quite made it onto official records.


It’s his skill at impersonating other musicians — both their playing and their personalities — that shine at this show. 


This recording also captures a curious moment in Billy’s career. It’s at the beginning of the Stranger tour, just before the record broke wide open and made Billy a household name.


The show is more streamlined than recordings from a few years prior, but not quite as realized as his performances would be in just a few more months. It also features a temporary lineup with a short-lived guitar player. 


Join us as we dive deep into a show from Billy Joel on the eve of superstardom.



Date: October 31, 1977
City/State: Miami, FL
Venue: Maurice Gusman Concert Hall

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, Vocals
  • Frank Vento – Guitar


The Setlist: 

  1. The Stranger
  2. Somewhere Along The Line
  3. Summer, Highland Falls
  4. Piano Man
  5. Thunder Road
  6. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  7. Travelin’ Prayer
  8. Let ‘Em In
  9. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  10. Still Crazy After All These Years
  11. Just The Way You Are
  12. Prelude / Angry Young Man
  13. New York State Of Mind
  14. The Entertainer
  15. Vienna
  16. Root Beer Rag
  17. You Are So Beautiful
  18. She’s Always A Woman
  19. I’ve Loved These Days
  20. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway
  21. The Ballad Of Billy The Kid
  22. Captain Jack
  23. Say Goodbye To Hollywood
  24. Only The Good Die Young
  25. Get It Right The First Time
  26. Weekend Song





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EP 036 – Concert Classics: Live in Houston, 1979

By the end of the seventies, Billy Joel had found success with a formula that blended elements of pop, rock, and jazz around a singer-songwriter frame. And, he was about to turn all that on its side. The Live In Houston 1979 bootleg is proof of it.


The video features Billy and the Lords of 52nd Street at the Summit in Houston, TX on November 25th. Their sound has been streamlined since the frenetic free-for-all on 1977’s CW Post radio broadcast. But, they’re not quite as settled into the arena stage show they’ll have perfected by 1982’s Live From Long Island. 


Instead, this concert presents a top-tier rock and roll band at the top of their game, with an audience of thousands cheering them on. But, for as revelatory as this concert is, it’s shrouded in a bit of mystery. 


The show took place well after the 52nd Street tour ended. It was professionally shot and edited, but never officially released. As a result, the only video footage available is grainy and suffering from generation loss. Finally, the show features three songs from the forthcoming Glass Houses. That album would mark a stylistic shift, and Billy even mentions that producer Phil Ramone is in the audience. 


But it’s easy enough to put those lingering questions about the how and why to the side and just enjoy the show. And, that’s what we’re doing with this episode. Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel: Houston 1979.


Date: November 25, 1979
City/State: Houston, TX
Venue: The Summit

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Russell Javors – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • David Brown – Lead Guitar, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, Vocals


The Setlist: 

  1. Only The Good Die Young
  2. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  3. Honesty
  4. My Life
  5. Piano Man
  6. All For Leyna
  7. Prelude / Angry Young Man
  8. New York State of Mind
  9. The Stranger
  10. Sometimes A Fantasy
  11. Root Beer Rag
  12. She’s Always A Woman
  13. Stiletto
  14. Zanzibar
  15. You May Be Right
  16. Just The Way You Are
  17. Big Shot
  18. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  19. Get It Right The First Time




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EP 020 – Concert Classics: Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA, 1974

Date: May 14, 1974

City/State: Boston, MA

Venue: Orpheum Theatre

Supporting: Jesse Colin Young & Livingston Taylor


The Setlist: 

  1. Travelin’ Prayer
  2. Somewhere Along The Line
  3. Technical Difficulty Blues
  4. Piano Man
  5. The Entertainer
  6. The Ballad of Billy The Kid
  7. Worse Comes To Worst
  8. Everybody Loves You Now
  9. Captain Jack
  10. Ain’t No Crime




In less than 50 minutes, the bootleg recording of Billy Joel at the Orpheum Theater in 1974 reveals the trajectory of his career up to that point and hints toward the challenges and major changes to come. 


It’s not his most popular bootleg, but as a warts-and-all snapshot of this moment, it’s surprisingly revelatory. 


The show, recorded on May 14th of that year, is Billy’s first performance in Boston, Massachusetts. He’s the first opener on a three-band bill with Livingston Taylor and Jesse Colin Young. 


But, already there are hints of his future success  and the changes he’d make over the next few years.


Of the nine songs Billy plays here, Three will get updated on 1981’s Songs in the Attic and you can already hear some of the changes taking form. All but two are from Piano Man. And, one is only a few weeks old. But more than the songs themselves, this recording is a rare glimpse of Billy between his first hit song, Piano Man, and Streetlife Serenade, an album he felt was a failure out of the gate. 


You’ll hear the west coast feel of his live band, an approach that he’d soon consciously jettison for the tougher East Coast sound that would become his hallmark. And, you’ll hear him wrestle with technical issues, often humorously. He’s also developing his rapport with his audience, and their response points to where his career would soon go.


Join us as we dive deep in Billy Joel, live at the Orpheum Theater in 1974.




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EP 011 – Concert Classics: Live At C.W. Post, 1977

Michael & Jack take their first dip into a classic Billy Joel concert from the past. They discuss the famed C.W. Post College concert recorded in Greenvale, NY on May 6, 1977. This concert was also broadcast live in New York and Philadelphia as Billy and the band tear through some classics and road test two brand new songs that would be recorded for The Stranger soon after. 


Date: May 6, 1977
City/State: Greenvale, NY
Venue: Dome Auditorium at C.W. Post College

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Moog Synthesizer
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Percussion, Keyboards
  • Howard Emerson – Guitar


The Setlist: 

  1. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
  2. Somewhere Along the Line
  3. Summer, Highland Falls
  4. Piano Man
  5. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
  6. James
  7. Prelude/Angry Young Man
  8. New York State of Mind
  9. Travelin’ Prayer
  10. Just the Way You Are
  11. The Entertainer
  12. You’re My Home
  13. Root Beer Rag
  14. She’s Got a Way
  15. The Ballad of Billy the Kid
  16. I’ve Loved These Days
  17. Captain Jack
  18. Worse Comes to Worst
  19. Ain’t No Crime
  20. Say Goodbye to Hollywood
  21. Weekend Song
  22. Souvenir

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EP 007 – Live Album & Video Retrospective: Live At Shea Stadium

Michael & Jack revisit the historic 2008 Shea Stadium concerts from Flushing, New York in Queens. The Beatles performed the first concert at Shea and New York’s son, Billy Joel, appropriately closed out the stadium with the final two concerts before the Shea’s ultimate demolition.

This viewing / listening companion goes song by song through the live CD / DVD highlighting special moments and special guests along the way.

Special guest performers during the two concerts that are included in this set are: Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, John Mellencamp, and of course, Sir Paul McCartney.

EP 004 – Video Retrospective: Live From Long Island

Michael & Jack present a song by song companion of the 1983 home video concert release Live From Long Island. Having been out of print for some 30+ years now, this concert is a must see and highlights Billy and the band firing on all cylinders as they transition into an arena touring band in the early 1980s.

Live From Long Island was recorded on December 29, 1982 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY and originally broadcast on HBO in the summer of 1983 before being released on video cassette and laser disc.