Despite being a big Billy Joel fan, my first Billy concert happened almost by accident. In the pre-internet days, info wasn't readily available everywhere. I learned about his tour for "The Bridge" as I walked by Rose Records downtown Chicago. Tickets just went on sale and I decided to go in and get a pair. I think they were about $20.
Fast forward to early this year, when another Wrigley Field concert was announced. The September date worried me a bit because of the potential weather issues, but that wouldn't stop me from attending. Billy would be 69 at concert time and you never know when he will stop touring.
My sister Jean and brother-in-law Scott agreed to join me. Although not huge fans, they enjoy concerts and I was glad to go with them, especially since I would be intruding on their 33rd anniversary.
My early weather concerns were realized, as rain was predicted for the day. We endured some rain early on through mid-afternoon. We ate lunch and did a little bar-hopping, hoping for the storm to pass, which it did by late afternoon.
Billy opened with "Big Shot" and closed with "You May Be Right," as the 4th encore song. All told, Billy and the band romped through 26 songs, with Billy getting a short rerst as two band members took the lead twice.
Crystal Taliefero took the lead on "Respect," as an homage to the recently deceased Aretha Franklin. A long-time favorite of mine, Crystal took center stage and rocked the house.
Later in the show, Mike DelGuidice showed his operatic abilities with a powerful rendition of "Nessun dorma." DelGuidice, who fronts Big Shot, a Billy cover band, has an amazing vocal range.
Billy isn't the dame raw performer that I first saw back in 1986, but he is just as enjoyable. His edgy energy has been replaced with polished showmanship. He has transitioned nicely in his older years.
This was my 12th Billy show and I will keep going as long as he keeps returning. I especially enjoyed seeing it with Jean and Scott. Sharing these experiences makes for great memories. I really appreciate them letting me join their anniversary weekend.
I wrote more about the night for Global Traveler at The Piano Man Plays Wrigley Field. It was the most read piece on GT's site, mostly thanks to DelGuidice sharing it on social media, for hich I am grateful.
Scott, Jean and me in Chicago, IL-September 2018.