Concert Review: Elton John and Billy Joel


Saturday night at the Sprint Center, Elton John and Billy Joel performed their rescheduled “Face 2 Face” show; but, it could have been dubbed “Face Off” between these two veteran piano men. There were vast differences in John’s and Joel’s performances: From a frontman’s perspective, Sir Elton had a more theatrical stage presence, while B.J. was a true showman by way of his sincere interaction with the crowd.

To open, two pianos rose from below the stage. The nearly sold-out crowd (median age: mid-forties) stood, applauding and screaming. Joel strolled out to the “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” waving to the crowd. Sir Elton marched out to “Rule Britannia,” baowing continuously to the audience. After hugging each other at center stage, John and Joel retreated behind their respective pianos.

Let the games begin.

The first four songs were an even exchange of John’s “Your Song,” then Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” then back to EJ with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” and finally to BJ’s “My Life.” Above the stage a screen showed a live shot of the two men face to face. Elton looked dolled up (wig and make-up to the hilt), while Joel looked real and impassioned. During the forty-five minute opening, both performers exchanged out on each other’s lyrics.

It was obvious from the beginning that Joel was the much stronger vocalist (even though only 3 years separate the two in age difference: Elton, 63, and Joel, 60.) During the evening, John struggled with the high falsetto notes, relying on his backup vocalists and even Joel.

Categories: Music