By Brian Ives
At a press conference today (Dec. 3), Billy Joel announced an ongoing residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Joel will perform one concert there per month “for as long as his fans continue to want to come, which should be a long time,” noted Hank J. Ratner, the president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, at the event.
Prior to the announcement, Joel had already announced concerts at the famed arena on January 27, February 3, March 21 and April 18, all of which have sold out, according to his official website. Another date was announced at the press conference: May 9, which is Joel’s 65th birthday. Dates for Billy Joel’s concerts past May will be announced at a later date, and he promises a unique show every night.
Like the other permanent residents of the Garden (The Knicks, The Liberty and The Rangers), Joel has been given his own custom logo (below).
“Having you as our music franchise is like having the Pope as your Parish priest!” MSG’s executive chairman Jim Dolan said at the press conference, which took place at MSG.
The April 18th concert will be his 50th performance at the Garden, his first show taking place in 1978. Joel recalled his quest to play MSG during the press conference, referencing his beginnings in Hicksville, Long Island.
“Madison Square Garden was larger than life,” he said. “It’s the place where artists become stars and players become legends. There’s no better venue in the world.”
Joel has not released a studio album since 1993’s River Of Dreams, and only released a handful of new songs since then, but that seems to have little or no effect on the demand to see him in concert, at least in the Metropolitan area. Joel calls Long Island — just a train or (frequently traffic plagued) car ride away from Manhattan — home. And while he didn’t mention that this opportunity affords him the chance to be a very well-paid working musician without having to tour, that surely is part of the appeal.
The Piano Man’s next show will take place on New Year’s Eve, also in the NYC area at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.