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Billy Joel, Nov. 26, Taco Bell Arena


As the piano rose from the floor in the center of the Taco Bell Arena stage, the thousands of fans started to scream Billy Joel's name—and one woman sitting near us in a not-cheap-not-VIP-but-excellent-seats section kept yelling, "Billy," "Billy," "Billy" until the end of the concert. When he started the show with a somewhat hoarse but rocking rendition of "Angry Young Man," the middle-agers around us beamed as bright as the spotlights on Joel's nearly-60-year-old pate.

After playing "My Life" (with an interesting "Jingle Bells" introduction), he paused and said to the audience, "I'm Billy Joel's dad. Billy's never been to Idaho before, but he'll be here soon." The casually clad Joel joked about how "you always remember your first time," then poked fun at Madonna and his own baldness. ("Don't think of it as losing hair," he said. "Think of it as gaining head.") Then the show people had gone to see began: Billy Joel launched into almost two hours of classic Billy Joel. The people who'd paid to see him (even those in the cheap seats, whom Joel thanked by saying, "I can use the money. My car insurance is

outrageous.") had come to hear "Just the Way You Are," "Allentown," "Movin' Out" and "We Didn't Start the Fire," and he didn't disappoint. He reached back into his catalogue and brought out "Zanzibar," "The Entertainer," "She's Always a Woman" and "Only the Good Die Young." He danced around the stage with a ball cap on sideways, spinning and twirling a microphone stand, looking like MC Joel as he sang "Big Shot," and he played electric guitar while his roadie, Chainsaw, took the mike and belted out "Highway to Hell." This put the audience in a half-rapture half-frenzy.