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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