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Billy Joel Goes Back to College for Intimate Concert

Billy Joel
Astrid Stawlarz, Getty Images

Wednesday night’s Billy Joel show at the University of Massachusetts was far from his biggest concert ever, but for the audience of about 900 students and staff it was more than entertaining. Joel sang, told stories, gave lessons, did impressions and revealed secrets inside Durgin Hall.

The Boston Herald reports that Joel made songs like ‘Piano Man’ and ‘Leningrad’ duets with music students. He did impersonations of Bob Dylan, Elton John and Ronald Reagan. And revealed that his 1990 hit ‘And So It Goes’ was indeed about his relationship with model Elle Macpherson.

“This is a hit record?” Joel asked of ‘Piano Man.’ “It’s a drag. The lyrics are all limericks. And there’s 30 minutes of them.” To wrap the show up he sang ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and brought the crowd to its feet. Earlier in the fall, Joel played similar shows at Cornell University and the University of Connecticut.

Another intimate concert from Joel’s past, a 1972 broadcast from Philadelphia’s WMMR which reportedly helped him earn his Columbia Records deal, has recently been released for the first time as part of the “Legacy Edition’ of his 1973 album ‘Piano Man,’ which we recently reviewed.

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