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elio pace the billy joel songbook

The Billy Joel Songbook review

The Billy Joel Songbook – Sage Gateshead

~ a guest blog by Mandy Charlton


My favourite birthday I can remember growing up was 1984, I was 10 years old and had requested “An Innocent Man” on cassette tape from my parents.  I remember getting up extra early to find that not only did I receive a cassette tape storage box but also the prize Billy Joel album, I must have listened to that album 100 times and each time I loved it, I fell in love with piano music on that day and have loved it ever since.  the funny thing is that one of Elio Pace’s stories he told last night was about his discovery of Billy Joel through that exact album, so it’s no wonder I enjoyed myself so much last night!

Let me tell you, the only thing better than Elio Pace and his band would be seeing Billy Joel and his band, Elio is so good that when Billy Joel was requested to appear with his original band and refused, Elio stepped in, the man is both a piano playing genius but his voice is an exact match to that of Billy Joel himself.

Last night over 2 and a half packed hours we heard every single Billy Joel hit, Piano man, My Life, Just The Way You Are and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant were just some of the plethora of Billy’s finest moments, it’s no wonder that by the time we came to nearing the end of the second half that pretty much all of the audience of intimate venue Sage 2, were up on their feet dancing.  

The music of Billy Joel is not only joyful, it’s also complex and clever with it’s roots firmly inspired by classical music and so it felt like a good concert to watch having myself just enjoyed the RNS Opening night when I myself discussed with a friend that classical music is everywhere, you just need to listen a little harder.  In Billy’s case, you don’t have to listen too hard to hear excepts directly inspired by his favourite artist Ludwig Van Beethoven.

I can genuinely say with my whole heart that last night was one of my favourite and most memorable concert experiences, the band, the performance, all on point and not a note out-of-place, the vocals, the saxophone, every single thing was done to perfection and it’s no wonder that Elio and his band have been touring the Billy Joel songbook for the last 4 years, if you can catch it this autumn then go, give the theatre your money because you will not regret it and me, well you can bet I’ll be having a quiet word with my editor to see if I can sneak in to review it once more when they return to Sage Gateshead next autumn.


~ a guest blog by Mandy Charlton




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