Photo Credit: Finn Turnbull
Billy Joel brought his great American songbook down to the Big Easy along with a big band of incredibly talented musicians. But not only did he indulge the full arena with his hits like "Keeping the Faith," "We Didn't Start the Fire," and "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," he peppered New Orleans songs throughout his two hour set. His rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" was stirring and dark while his version of "What a Wonderful World" was light and lovely. He also gave his band members moments to shine like letting his fantastic multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero sing "Lady Marmalade." I think that the best two unexpected perforamances were "Brown Sugar" and when he let his guitar tech sing lead vocals to AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" complete with a mic drop.
What I found so fun about this performace was remembering how varied Billy Joel's music is. You've got his soulful "Piano Man" era, his fun doowop period with songs like "Uptown Girl" and his more groovy time with "In the Middle of the Night." His return to the city since his 2013 appearance at Jazz Fest was well worth the wait.