Billy Joel amazes at the BOK Center


Noah Estes

Nov. 11-Billy Joel performed at the BOK Center. This was Joel’s first Tulsa performance since 2009.

Beginning his recording career in 1971, Joel’s first album was a commercial failure. Due to a production error, Cold Spring Harbor made Joel’s voice sound high pitch. He has said that the original release made his voice “sound more like The Chipmunks” than himself. Joel did not receive commercial success until his second album in 1973, Piano Man. The title track reached number 25 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. Since then, Joel has become one of the best selling artists of all time, and released 11 more albums.

Joel put on an amazing performance. He was entertaining and exciting throughout the whole show. There was not a dull moment.

To begin, his set list was diverse and interesting. Joel played his big hits as well as what his critics have called “album tracks”. Joel spanned most of his career with the tracks he played, as well as a few songs that he did not personally write. He played “Oklahoma” which received loud applause from the audience, as well as an audience led sing-a-long. He also paid a small tribute to Sir Elton John with the beginning of John’s hit, “Your Song”. During the concert, Joel also gave the audience a choice of which song they wanted him to play on one occasion. Joel  took a break from singing for one of his roadies, Chainsaw, to come out and sing AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell”, as well as band member Mike Delguidice to perform  “Nessun Dorma” by Giacomo Puccini.

Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day, and as a tribute to the men and women who have served, he played “Goodnight Saigon”. During the chorus of the song, he brought a few veterans to sing along with him and the band. It was a bone chilling experience to hear. Everyone in the stadium was on their feet. After the conclusion of the song, Joel stood up and personally shook each veterans hand.

Joel has been performing live shows for years, and that can be seen by his performance, stage and style. Joel’s stage was open all the way around him so that those who had seats behind the stage could see him just as well as the rest of the audience. He would also talk between the songs he played, making jokes, giving background information, and keeping the audience engaged. Joel had no special effects through his concert besides lights and his piano spinning, as to give the audience a good view of him, no matter where they were. Small things like this show Joel’s desire for the audience to enjoy the concert, while not going over the top. He kept his performance very simple, but extremely engaging to everyone.

Despite being 67, Joel continues to put on an engaging and extremely moving performance. No experience can truly rival hearing him scream the chorus of “Pressure” or hear the beautiful piano of “Piano Man”. Joel is still amazing to this day, and one can only hope for a return of “The Piano Man”. If one was to give a number review of Joel’s performance, it could be nothing but 11 out of 10.