Welcome back, Captain Jack! Billy Joel returns to MSG

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Billy Joel performs onstage astatine  Madison Square Garden connected  November 05, 2021 successful  New York City. Billy Joel performs onstage astatine Madison Square Garden connected November 05, 2021 successful New York City. Getty Images

Some Billy Joel songs conscionable deed you otherwise now, 21 months aft the Piano Man past tinkled those ivories astatine Madison Square Garden connected Feb. 20, 2020 arsenic portion of his monthly residency astatine his hometown arena.

Such was the lawsuit erstwhile Joel opened with “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out connected Broadway)” — from his 1976 medium “Turnstiles” — astatine his benignant of homecoming performance resuming his residency astatine the Garden connected Friday night.

When helium sang, “Seen the lights spell retired connected Broadway/I saw the Empire State laid low,” those lyrics took connected a full caller meaning for him and his sold-out assemblage who had really lived done those lyrics successful the darkest days of the pandemic successful New York.

But the deafening roar of the assemblage with each Big Apple notation during that opus and others to travel proved that the Bronx-born, Long Island-based Joel and his faithful fans who person been supporting this residency since January 2014 were backmost to that aged New York authorities of the mind.

Joel welcomed the assemblage  astatine  Madison Square Garden for his archetypal  amusement   astatine  the venue since February 2020.Joel welcomed the assemblage astatine Madison Square Garden for his archetypal amusement astatine the venue since February 2020.Robert Mecea
Joel played each  of his deed  songs earlier  ending with "It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me" successful  the encore. Joel played each of his deed songs earlier ending with “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” successful the encore. Robert Mecea

“Good evening New York City!” said Joel erstwhile greeting the assemblage a fewer songs into the show. “We’re backmost successful the Garden. I privation to convey you for waiting…Sorry that we unopen everything down, but we’re back.”

Then Joel did the astir New York of moves by acknowledging the 20th day of 9/11 and the Concert for New York City payment that helium played astatine the Garden successful October 2001. He displayed a fireman’s helmet connected his soft that was recovered connected 9/11. “I conscionable thought we should person it present tonight,” helium said earlier launching into “New York State of Mind,” having a wealth infinitesimal aboriginal successful the show.

A instrumentality   holds a motion   saying "Welcome Back Billy!" arsenic  the New York autochthonal  took the signifier    astatine  Madison Square Garden for his residency. A instrumentality holds a motion saying “Welcome Back Billy!” arsenic the New York autochthonal took the signifier astatine Madison Square Garden for his residency. Getty Images
Joel displays a firefighter’s helmet connected  his soft  arsenic  helium  performed “New York State of Mind.”Joel displays a firefighter’s helmet connected his soft arsenic helium performed “New York State of Mind.”Getty Images

Hey, aft 21 months, wherefore support the radical waiting immoderate longer for what they want?

But adjacent past lesser-known tunes that lone Joel loyalists would cognize were greeted enthusiastically from an assemblage that surely consisted of galore repetition residency attendees. And adjacent songs they’ve heard a 1000 times earlier — specified arsenic “She’s Always a Woman,” which brought connected 1 of the biggest assemblage singalongs — sounded caller again, arsenic if they were proceeding them unrecorded for the archetypal time.

Joel himself look renewed arsenic well, having shed immoderate 50 pounds since we past saw him astatine the Garden. And successful summation to the earthy excitement to play astatine the Garden, the 72-year-old prima displayed much vigor and endurance, bouncing astir the signifier to “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Uptown Girl” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” successful the encore.

Fans flocked to Madison Square Garden to witnesser  Billy Joel's homecoming connected  Nov. 5, 2021.Fans flocked to Madison Square Garden to witnesser Billy Joel’s homecoming connected Nov. 5, 2021.Robert Mecea
Billy Joel, who played implicit    100 shows astatine  MSG, performs for a sold-out assemblage  astatine  Madison Square Garden connected  Nov. 5, 2021.Billy Joel, who played implicit 100 shows astatine MSG, performs for a sold-out assemblage astatine Madison Square Garden connected Nov. 5, 2021.Robert Mecea

In the end, this felt similar a welcome-home party, with the assemblage slapping each other’s backs, swaying and singing successful unison to classics specified arsenic “Only the Good Die Young” that ne'er get old.

But 1 item was erstwhile guitarist and inheritance vocalist Mike DelGudice gave a bravura show of the aria “Nessun Dorma” that segued perfectly into Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” a accordant assemblage favourite that made New York — and Madison Square Garden — feel similar location again.