Elton John / Billy Joel
May 7, 2001
Elton and Billy embrace.
Story and photos by Terry MayerThis is the second time Elton John and Billy Joel have joined forces to produce a wildly successful tour package. Why not team up? If they toured seperately each would be lucky to have two-thirds capacity filled stadiums. Combined mediocrity can sometimes blind people into thinking they are getting more than they really are.
Billy Joel was the first to saunter onto stage, then Elton John slowly followed. They turned and faced each other, then both saluted. Getting caught up in the moment, they both quickly magnetized toward one another and embraced in a big hug. These two legends of rock came together at the Allstate Arena for three sold out shows.
On both sides of the stage there were two baby grand pianos for each of these innovators of the ivories to get familiar with. The portly song smiths proceeded to play a few songs together, which were lacking in identity and charisma. Then Elton took over first. Clad in red with matching glasses and Medusa emblazoned on the back of his jacket, he started to play some of his early songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Caribou. Then Elton blasted off with "Rocketman" as the crowd swayed back and forth absorbing the flavor of the music. Elton then asked if there were any ballerinas in the audience and proceeded to play the winsome "Tiny Dancer." As he finished off the popfest, he stood up and blew kisses to his fans with the flair of Liberace. As he returned to the piano he kicked in with the appropriate "I'm Still Standing" followed by the jumpy and finger snappin' "Crocodile Rock." Fans started to dance and clap. The crowd were apparently waiting for some of the up tempo stuff. Elton paid homage to Billy Joel by playing "Uptown Girl" to the delight of he crowd.
Billy Joel took the stage next, right from the get go he was hyped. He jumped up off his piano seat and just started to bang the keys. His hands were moving so fast that the blur they created somehow produced some pretty fine musical notes. Then he started to play with his butt, then his left foot, uh oh which body part would come next?. Where Elton was laid back and somewhat mellow, Billy was wild and interactive with the fans. He changed into "Moving Out" and the crowd got wild right back at him. Billy then thanked the fans in the nosebleed seats for paying $45 per ticket. The prime seats went for $145. Ticket prices for major shows are absolutely getting out of hand! He rocked into "Go to Extremes" and kept up the momentum in a hopped up rockabilly meets sappy ballad kinda way.
Billy Joel won the duel between master rock pianists tonight. Elton was more passive even though he looked like he enjoyed himself. Billy seemed to appreciate the prices the fans were paying for their seats and felt obliged to kick it up a few notches. Joel demonstrated that he is, indeed the piano man tonight.
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