Billy Joel returned to New York’s Madison Square Garden on Friday night (November 5th) to resume his ongoing residency at the legendary “Big Apple” venue. Billy last performed at the Garden on February 20th, 2020 — just before the massive covid shutdown.

The setlist, like most of the Garden shows, offered an embarrassment of riches — including at least one track from all of his albums — save for 1986’s The Bridge, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this summer. Despite this week marking the 50th anniversary of his 1971 debut album, Cold Spring Harbor, the “Piano Man” only played one song from the set — the longtime concert staple, “Everybody Loves You Now.”

Unlike a lot of musicians who struck big and went from club gigs straight to local “enormo-domes” across the country, Billy Joel — like his Columbia Records labelmate Bruce Springsteen — made his way up the ranks as a credible live act: “What’s interesting to me, I started on my own in the Village. I was in bands that played in New York City before, but I’d never played on my own ’till, I guess 1970, I started in Greenwich Village at the Gaslight. And then I played the Bitter End, the Village Gate, and Max’s Kansas City — and that was the club era. And then we moved up to Carnegie Hall, that was a very exciting gig, really exciting. And then we played the Bottom Line, and that was broadcast on the radio. After that, I did Lincoln Center at Philharmonic Hall, and then we started playing Madison Square Garden, which was a big jump.”

Billy Joel’s November 5th, 2021 MSG setlist – via

“Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway)”
“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
“My Life” (with Beethoven‘s “Ode To Joy” intro)
“New York State Of Mind” (with a tribute to 9/11 firefighter Neil Skow)
“Everybody Loves You Now”
“The Downeaster Alexa”
“The Entertainer”
“She’s Always A Woman”
“Don’t Ask Me Why” (with a snippet of Buddy Holly‘s “Not Fade Away”)
“All For Leyna”
“Sometimes A Fantasy”
“The River Of Dreams” (with interlude of ZZ Top‘s “Tush” featuring Mike DelGuidice on vocals)
“Only The Good Die Young”
“Nessun dorma” (featuring Mike DelGuidice singing the Puccini opera classic)
“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”
“Piano Man”


“We Didn’t Start The Fire”
“Uptown Girl”
“It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me”
“Big Shot”
“You May Be Right” (with a snippet of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock And Roll”)

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