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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Billy Joel 'Storm Front'

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 5/27/2024
Occurred: 12/8/1989
Posted: 8/7/2017
Page Views: 3138
Topics: #Music #Concerts #BillyJoel #Stormfront
My daughter's bad luck sent me to a rock concert I actually wanted to attend.

When my youngest daughter, Jennifer, was 14 years old, she had a job, which meant she had an income. She also had an absolutely favorite song, Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire", to which she knew all the words (even though the references meant nothing to her), and got me to play whenever we rode together in the car.

So, when Billy Joel was coming to perform near us, she used some of her money to buy a ticket. I was so impressed I even offered to drive her there and pick her up.

But then her job got in the way. I guess they changed her hours or needed her to come an extra shift. Whatever it was, she decided to put the job ahead of the concert, and gave me the ticket.

To say I had mixed feelings was an understatement. I was so pleased and excited that Jenny had made such a purchase with her own money; and also pleased that she was taking her job seriously (how many kids do that?) while being so disappointed she wouldn't be able to enjoy the fruits of her labors that it brought tears to my eyes. Still, her mind was made up, and we were agreed the ticket shouldn't be wasted. So I went in her place.

At the time we lived in the Deep Wood neighborhood of Reston, Virginia; the concert was to be held at a venue in Columbia, Maryland, on the other side of Washington, DC. That sounds like a big deal to people who don't live in the Greater Washington Area, but really it just meant hopping onto the Beltway and driving halfway 'round.

Jenny's seat was in the nosebleed section, of course; it wasn't easy to make out the stage, and granted, the person on it singing could as easily have been a lip-synching Ronald Reagan. But the newly-introduced Jumbotron (a giant screen TV suspended from the support struts) showed his face clearly enough; and when he did a back flip during a number, I was able to see it from both perspectives at once.

Yes, Billy Joel's show eschewed lasers, fireworks, and explosions in favor of actual talent, hard work, showmanship.

As is common in concerts by long-time stars, the first half covered the songs from his newest album, Storm Front, while the second half included most of his hits, from "Piano Man" to "Modern Woman". With no lasers or other modern distractions, we got to enjoy the performance and the music.

Yet, I still felt—and still feel—badly that Jenny missed it (although Jenny herself tells me she doesn't remember the incident at all).

Maybe it's time to give her a set of Billy Joel CDs.