One of the musicians who stole the show at December’s 12-12-12 benefit for Sandy victims was Billy Joel, who performed a powerhouse five-song set at the Garden backed by his current band of young hotshot musicians. While the “Piano Man” has a pair of festival appearances set for later this spring at the Stone Music Festival in Australia and at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, we haven’t heard anything about the possibility of Joel returning to the road for a tour…until now.
Joel spoke with Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene about his upcoming gigs and much more in a revealing interview. There’s tons of good news for Billy fans within the piece including word that reports of his retiring were completely overblown as the legendary singer-songwriter will use the two festival gigs to put his “toe back into the water to see how performing feels.” If all goes well, Joel told Greene that he’d be open to playing some of his landmark albums in their entirety at future gigs. [We’ll use this opportunity to get our request in for Joel to play 1977’s The Stranger.]
We’re also excited to see Billy’s open to playing rarities at his shows…
The 63-year-old singer-songwriter is already giving a lot of thought to the kind of show he’d like to present later this year. “I’d like to do more songs that weren’t hits. I got tired of doing the greatest hits set. It was boring playing the same songs over and over. There are a lot of songs the longtime fans want to hear,” he says. “If I was going to play again in places like New York, I would probably feature entire albums. It would give me a chance to do songs we haven’t played. . . We’d do one album and then play some obscurities. I enjoy playing those more than I enjoy playing the hits. . . I’m thinking we’d do these shows in Philly, New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Chicago.”
Though Joel is wise enough to know much of the audience will want to hear his hits and talks about a Led Zeppelin show that he left disappointed at because they didn’t play Whole Lotta Love. Billy Joel also discusses what he’s been up to the past few years, the potential for new material, the possibilities of performing with Elton John again and much more with Greene in the interview.