Saturday, May 6, 2017

Song of the Day: Billy Joel - All For Leyna

I was fortunate enough to attend a Billy Joel concert again about a week ago, on Friday, April 28.  It's been a while.  Last time I saw Billy Joel play was ... almost 27 years ago.  Yes, I feel old.   :)

I looked it up, based on an old t-shirt I had.  Shirt was from Billy Joel's "Storm Front" tour, back in 1990, so that helped me narrow down the date.  Set list was not available, but this is what I found:
http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/billy-joel/1990/alpine-valley-music-theatre-east-troy-wi-23c47013.html
August 11, 1990.  At Alpine Valley.  Sitting on the grass in the cheap seats, ah the memories!

In case you're wondering, yes, I wore the old t-shirt to the concert.  Yes, it still fit!  Okay, it was a little tight.  I'll spare you a visual.    :(


How was the concert?  It was GREAT.  Sound wasn't perfect in such a large venue (more on the venue later) and Joel is getting a bit older (67 now).  But he is still a fabulous performer, and check out this set list, from setlist.fm:
http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/billy-joel/2017/suntrust-park-atlanta-ga-6be60ace.html

Setlist

  1. Play Video
  2. (followed by 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game')
    Play Video
  3. (Edward Meeker cover)
    Play Video
  4. Play Video
  5. Play Video
  6. (Audience choice over "Just the Way You Are")
    Play Video
  7. (Elton John cover)
    Play Video
  8. Play Video
  9. Play Video
  10. (With The Lion Sleeps Tonight ( Solomon Linda) intro and audience choice over "An Innocent Man")
    Play Video
  11. (James Brown cover)
    Play Video
  12. (With 'Layla' piano outro)
    Play Video
  13. (Audience choice over "Leningrad")
    Play Video
  14. Play Video
  15. Play Video
  16. Play Video
  17. (Otis Redding cover)
    Play Video
  18. Play Video
  19. Play Video
  20. (With "The Mexican Connection" intro)
    Play Video
  21. Play Video
  22. Play Video
  23. (AC/DC cover) (roadie Chainsaw on vocal; Billy Joel on guitar)
    Play Video
  24. Play Video
  25. (With 'Heat Wave' (Martha and the Vandellas) interlude)
    Play Video
  26. (Giacomo Puccini cover) (Mike DelGuidice on vocal; Billy Joel on piano)
    Play Video
  27. Play Video
  28. Play Video
  29. Encore:
  30. Play Video
  31. Play Video
  32. Play Video
  33. Play Video
  34. (With 'Rock And Roll' (Led Zeppelin) Snippet)

33 songs, not all full length (like the Georgia songs).  I did keep track of the time: Joel played over two and a half hours, 2:35 or so by my watch.  Definitely gave the fans a solid show.


Joel seemed to have fun in this concert.  He joked that he wasn't going to play any "new shit" that we hadn't heard before.  He played many songs from Georgia artists.  He let a band member sing Nessun Dorma.  He let one of his roadies sing Highway to Hell.  And he gave several song choices, chosen based on applause, during the evening.

Song choice #1 was "Vienna" instead of "Just The Way You Are."  I voted for Vienna on this one, easy call.  On the way out after the concert I heard one woman complain, sad and confused, asking why the audience didn't want to hear "Just The Way You Are." Duh: It's because we wanted to listen to listen to the better song.

Song choice #2 was "The Longest Time" over "Innocent Man."  I voted for "The Longest Time" without hesitation.

Song choice #3 was "And So It Goes" over "Leningrad."  I didn't have a strong applause vote here, mildly preferring "And So It Goes."  I think this is the where Joel joked with the audience this was a slow one and not many in the audience would know it, so now would be a good time to go to the bathroom!

So my choice won all three times.  Yay!   :)

Here is a review of the concert, from the local paper, AJC.com:
"Concert review and photos: Billy Joel gives master class in pop music at first SunTrust Park show"
http://music.blog.ajc.com/2017/04/29/concert-review-and-photos-billy-joel-gives-master-class-in-pop-music-at-first-suntrust-park-show/

Final line in the review sums it up perfectly: "This was a master class in the essentials of pop music longevity."

My favorite parts of the concert were most of the songs from Glass Houses and The Stranger.  Least favorite parts?  The songs from 52nd Street.  Not sure why, I've always found that to be my least liked Billy Joel album.

Favorite songs during the night?
  • All For Leyna
  • Vienna
  • Miami 2017 (seems fitting, now that we're in 2017 .... and by the way, wasn't 2017 way in the future???)
  • Only The Good Die Young (always fabulous)
  • You May Be Right
Really a strong finish, I think.


Speaking of SunTrust Park, how was it?  How was the brand-spanking new home of the Boston Milwaukee Atlanta Cobb Braves.  To be honest, I was underwhelmed.  I was not impressed.  This is what my tax money was stolen for?  The stadium has a generally cruddy, unfinished look about it.  Ugly concrete and narrower-than-expected walkways.  Concessions with very inefficient layouts and lines that completely block movement.  Honestly, Turner Field seems nicer to me (I was never bothered by its location, would take MARTA).  SunTrust Park is not an improvement from what I saw.

Here is how it was described on AJC.com:
Billy Joel show prompts mixed reviews of SunTrust Park as concert venue
http://music.blog.ajc.com/2017/04/29/billy-joel-show-prompts-mixed-reviews-of-suntrust-park-as-concert-venue/

The article itself is weak, doesn't give any real feel for the park.  But do yourself a favor and read the comments to get the full story, good and bad.

I agree with this one:

I look forward to going to a Braves game ... as soon as they move back to Turner Field OR they build a MARTA line out to SunTrust Park. Before that, no way. No way. A completely unnecessary venue. Guess it made a pile of a money for half-a-dozen millionaires. (and the villains in the government of course) Everyday fan ... screwed again.
On a positive note, the park may be just fine, with its narrow concourses and poor access, for the 20,000 or so fans that might attend Cobb Braves games.


Okay, now that all that is out of the way, here is one unexpected song from the concert.  It's one of my all-time favorite Billy Joel songs.  Never a hit, just a great song on a great album (Glass Houses, one of Joel's best, along with The Stranger, in my opinion).

Billy Joel - All for Leyna
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzE1-NlOthY

I've seen other set lists where Joel did not play this song in recent concerts, choosing "Sleeping With The Television On" instead, another one of my favorites.  Another similar (in my mind) song is "I Don't Want To Be Alone Anymore."  Both are also on Glass Houses--can you see why it's at the top of the list of Billy Joel albums?  All capture certain vibes about relationships.  More obsessive/negative with All For Leyna, more realistic/regretful with Sleeping With The Television On, and more optimistic/hopeful with I Don't Want To Be Alone Anymore.


Regardless of the stadium issues (some degree of which were to be expected for such high attendance), it was a great concert, a trip down memory lane.  Thanks, Billy.