It takes a special artist to remain the hottest ticket in the greatest city in the world, 25 years after he released his last album. Of course, that’s exactly what Billy Joel is doing at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. In 2006, Joel had the number 12 raised to the rafters in the World’s Greatest Arena, joining local sports legends like Walt Frazier and Mark Messier thanks to a record 12-night run of sold out shows he put on that year. In 2014, his relationship with his hometown venue was cemented: He became MSG’s fourth “franchise,” establishing a deal to play monthly concerts at the Garden for the indefinite future. In April 2017 he played the 40th show of his residency, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. The show is quintessential Billy Joel, an audience-engaging affair that serves as a tour of his hit-filled career.
Joel’s debut album, 1971’s Cold Spring Harbor, peaked only at 158 on the U.S. charts. Follow-up The Stranger, which eventually sold over 4 million copies in the States, only rose as high as 27. It was The Stranger, in 1977, that made Billy Joel a star. It charted at No. 2 and is his best-selling album, certified diamond with over 10 million U.S. copies sold. Subsequent albums 52nd Street, Glass Houses, Storm Front and River of Dreams all charted at No. 1. Released in 1993, River of Dreams was his final studio album. He topped the charts with three singles over the course of his career: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Tell Her About It” and the generation-defining “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”