independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Polished piano pair serenade fans with face to face concert

PIANO man Billy Joel and rocket man Elton John serenaded Dublin and each other in the first of two face to face concerts last night.Billed as the biggest musical event of the year, the legends of popular music performed on twin grand pianos at opposite ends of the massive stage as the sun went down on Croke Park.

Wearing shades and all black, masters of the ivories began performing shortly after 7pm before much of the 50,000 crowd had taken their seats or their place on the pitch.

Elton John's ``Your Song'' and ``Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me'' and Bill Joel's ``Honesty'' and ``My Life'' opened the European leg of the face to face world tour.

And over three hours of hits from the seventies, eighties and nineties followed.

Joel and his band were then alone with the crowd.

The 49-year-old with the greying beard and obvious charisma dedicated ``Scenes from an Italian Restaurant'' to the late Frank Sinatra before winning over the crowd with numbers such as an instrumental version of ``Danny Boy'' and ``Only the Good Die Young''.

The sound of a helicopter introduced the song that could only be ``Goodnight Saigon''. The reason Joel is a legend is clear.

Abandoning his piano, he got into his stride with the upbeat ``It's still Rock and Roll to Me'', as he swung around his microphone and went into the crowd.

After the intermission, Sir Elton, with a single silver ear ring and a flashy blue suit took to the keyboard.

His polished performance included old favourites such as ``Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'', ``No Sacrifice'', ``I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues'', ``Daniel'' and ``Crocodile Rock''.

Interrupting the Mexican wave around the stadium, ironically, it was Elton John's version of Joel's ``Uptown Girl'' got the audience dancing in their seats.

For a real American finale, the legends joined forces again and sang the Beatles, ``Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'' and Joel's ``She's Always A Woman To Me'' much to the appreciation of the crowd.

Elton John and Billy Joel good humouredly raised an Irish flag donated by someone in the audience and listened to a rendition of ``Ole, Ole, Ole''. The pair finished the show with a duet of Joel's ``The Piano Man''.

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