All hail the true King of New York. In a situation that could only happen on Long Island, Billy Joel entertained the people of Huntington by giving a random piano concert on the street!
Normally, people have to pay hundreds of dollars to see Billy Joel play in New York City. However, residents of Huntington, Long Island, were treated to a performance by the living legend for free last month. While Billy, 71, was riding his motorcycle around that part of New York, he spotted a wooden piano discarded on the sidewalk. Because he had nothing else going on – and he’s Billy Joel – the Piano Man began playing Shelton Brooks’ 1917 ragtime hit, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball.” Thankfully, an onlooker captured this impromptu concert. The video, dated June 26, was shared online and quickly went viral.
“Not bad. The action’s good. It just needs tuning – and the finish is beat. It’s a perfectly good piano,” said Billy. “It’s a shame to throw it out. It should at least be donated to St. Vincent de Paul or something.” Billy noted that “these are laminated keys, the pedals work, the action is great. The mechanics are perfect.” In the clip, Billy is seen wearing a motorcycle, and a rep for the “Movin’ Out” singer confirmed to People that, yes. That’s him.
Recently, Billy performed as part of the Rise Up New York! During the May 11 telecast, Billy performed “Miami 2017,” and his face was projected on jumbotrons across Times Square, and the Empire State Building flashed its lights in time with the song. Seen the lights go out Broadway / I saw the Empire State laid low / And life went on beyond the Palisades / They all bought Cadillacs / And left there long ago,” he sang. The post-apocalyptic tune sees a New York City in shambles, which was eerily accurate since most of the city – including Broadway – was shut down in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Billy was scheduled to perform at Madison Square Garden on March 19 and April 10, but both shows were postponed due to coronavirus.
In 2019, Billy announced that he was in “semi-retirement,” telling Billboard that a lifetime of gigging and touring was taking its toll. “We used to do five, six gigs a week. When you’re first starting out and you’re with your buddies going around the world, you’re like a teenage gang. Very exciting. After a couple of years, you’re Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.”
However, don’t expect him to hang it up forever. “My theory is, one night I’m going to suck,” he explained to Billboard. “I won’t be able to hit the notes, I’ll forget the words, I’ll forget the music. I love the job too much to not be good.” Judging by that impromptu performance, that night is a long, long way off.