Billy Joel BST Hyde Park: Review and setlist with support from Daryl Hall, Natasha Bedingfield and Rumer
and live on Freeview channel 276
“I got good news, I got bad news. The bad news is we don’t got anything new to play to you. The good news is you don’t need to hear anything new.”
The adoring Piano Man fans would have forgiven a few new songs but they certainly weren’t complaining about this greatest hits run-through.
My Life and Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) kicked things off, the crowd singing every word, and every “da, da, da”.
There is a sparkle in Billy Joel and though he plays the ageing music hall turn at times, he knows what he’s doing.
The Entertainer takes the audience on a romp through a classic melody, and the crowd is given a choice between Just The Way You Are and Vienna, the crowd opts for the latter (do they always?). It’s the right choice.
The dramatic twists and turns, and trumpet solos, of Zanzibar follow, and then as Billy rises there’s applause.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I ain’t no Mick Jagger,” which is, of course, a cue for a Jagger impression and a bit of Start Me Up.
Despite the claims to the contrary, Billy is quite capable of hitting the high notes in An Innocent Man, and a mid-set high point is the ‘50s harmonies of The Longest Time.
He can’t resist the quips on stage. At one point he’s looking at himself on the big screen: “It’s my old man. Hi dad. I didn’t want to look like my old man, but here I am.”
At another point there seems to be something happening in the crowd.
“Has somebody passed out? Are they still alive? Is that a McCartney ‘yes’?” he says with a thumbs up. I assume they were.
Always a Woman has the crowd as the stars of the show on the big screen. Sometimes a Fantasy brings the guitar solos before the swing of Only The Good Die Young.
The River of Dreams is of course a big hitter, but it’s overshadowed by an interlude of River Deep Mountain High, in tribute to Tina Turner, led by band member Crystal Taliefero-Pratt with a phenomenal vocal. It’s an odd change of gear back into The River of Dreams but both songs are worth it in their own right.
As things reach the latter stages, Nessun Dorma is sung by Mike DelGuidice, before the closing duo of Scenes From An Italian Restaurant and Piano Man.
“The piano, it sounds like a carnival and the microphone smells like a beer.”
For an encore Billy’s on guitar for We Didn’t Start the Fire, while Joe Jonas is on stage for a Uptown Girl duet and A Hard Day’s Night features (with no McCartney on stage, unfortunately).
After a closing You May Be Right, the crowd go home very happy.
Billy Joel BST Hyde Park setlist
The setlist, as recorded on setlist.fm:
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
An Innocent Man
The Longest Time
New York State of Mind
She’s Always a Woman
Sometimes a Fantasy
Only the Good Die Young
The River of Dreams (With interlude River Deep Mountain High)
Nessun dorma (Giacomo Puccini cover) (Sung by Mike Delguidice)
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
We Didn’t Start The Fire
Uptown Girl (with Joe Jonas)
It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me
A Hard Day’s Night
You May Be Right
From the …and Oats man, Maneater was about as placid as a song with that name can get. In fact, the whole performance remained pretty low key (and quiet).
As the set wore on, Daryl moved from guitar to piano and things picked up a bit. There’s a pleasing familiarity to Out of Touch and I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) injected a bit of funk. And Rich Girl was fun, followed by Make My Dreams Come True.
I’m a big Prince fan so the fact I was satisfied with Bedingfield’s cover of Purple Rain is a good sign.
Some technical issues followed but by the time These Words came through the crowd seemed happy. The onstage computer went into full meltdown, which was probably for the best, enabling an acoustic take on Unwritten.
Part of the Rainbow Stage line-up were the soft jazz tones of Rumer. The singer gives the crowd a gently uplifting Aretha, in the less-than-gentle sun, and Jimmy Webb’s PF Sloane is equally buoyant. A good choice for the bill.