Billy Joel and Elton John. Two legendary figures of our time (and our parents’ time). I was lucky enough to attend their concert in Foxboro, Massachusetts. It is amazing to me that even though neither artist has put out new songs lately, they are still just as much loved, respected, and admired as they were when Billy Joel first came out with “Piano Man” or Elton John first came out with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
What a great duo to team up! First they played a set together, then Elton John played for an hour, then Billy Joel played for an hour, then they played together to end the concert. Hearing each of them sing the other person’s songs was really great to see too. And of course, they ended with the renowned “Piano Man.” Check out the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NnR4hr9f4w. What a feeling they must get every time they stop singing the refrain and the audience sings for them (you can see this at 5:09 on the video)! I would show you my video, but then you would hear my “not-so-lovely” voice in the background (pretty embarrassing once I realized that I was singing in all of my videos).
When I was at the concert, I thought about the evolution of music a bit. No modern artist would put on a concert like these two. The tone is different, the atmosphere is different, and the music is different. Billy Joel and Elton John sit at their pianos and sing and play the piano for every single song. Billy Joel even adds a harmonica to his performance during “Piano Man.” (How many people can say they can play piano, the harmonica, and sing at the same time?) They even have a regular team of musicians to back them up, and they make sure to introduce all of them. (My claim to fame is that I sang “Piano Man” with Billy Joel’s saxophone player, Mark Rivera, last summer at a piano bar in New York City. So I found it amazing to see him on stage with Billy Joel playing the saxophone to “Piano Man.”) They do not need fancy choreography or impressive videos in the background. Simply showing these two artists and sometimes (but rarely) a music video in the background is enough.
And how many artists today can say they had Top 10 hits in the 70s, 80s, and 90s and 33 Top 40 hits in the United States all together, like Billy Joel. And how many artists can say they sold over 200 million records, had 7 straight #1 albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10 singles, 4 #2 hits, and 9 #1 hits, like Elton John? The success of these artists is phenomenal. And to keep it up after so many years makes it even more astonishing. Their fans are completely dedicated and take every opportunity to see them and support them (For example, I want to see them again next year if they are on tour again.)
Every generation connects to a certain type of music, no matter where they live in the country, or even world. But how many artists can say they have impacted multiple generations? My grandparents, parents, and my siblings all revere these artists. Their concerts are sold out. Their music is recognized by many. And they are still loved and respected by all.