Madison Square Garden just announced that they will hold a press conference with Billy Joel on December 3rd to make an “exclusive and historic announcement.” Neither he nor the arena have given indication of what they are going to announce, but the moment will be broadcast live on Fuse, the MSG Network and BillyJoel.com.
It’s doubtful they’re announcing that Joel is the new center for the Knicks, so it obviously has something to do with his concerts. He’s announced four MSG shows in 2014 so far: on January 27th, February 3rd, March 21st and April 18th. Ticket sales were very strong, though it’s a little odd he’s only doing one a month.
Might he be planning an unprecedented one-show-a-month residency at Madison Square Garden for all of 2014? He could easily sell out all the shows, and it would mean he doesn’t have to schlep all over the country. He sold out 12 nights at MSG in 2006 without any difficulty and could easily repeat the feat. He could probably do five nights a month all year long and sell those out. He has a huge fanbase around New York.
Twelve Madison Square Garden shows, even one a month, doesn’t seem like a “historic” announcement, though. Might they have something more up their sleeves? This past April, he did tell Rolling Stone that he’s contemplating complete album shows. “I got tired of doing the greatest hits set,” he said. “If I was going to play again in places like New York, I would probably feature entire albums. It would give me a chance to do songs we haven’t played. . . We’d do one album and then play some obscurities. I enjoy playing those more than I enjoy playing the hits.”
Billy Joel does have 12 pop albums, making the one-show-a-month plan feasible. It would also give him plenty of time to learn all the songs. Fans would travel from all over the world and the shows would be actually historic. It would mean he’d have to play The Bridge and Cold Spring Harbor, two albums he’s slagged off in the past, too.
There is a strong chance we’re reading too much into this. He might merely be announcing that he plans to beat his 12-show record by doing 13, or he might be announcing he’s going to do three or four of his most popular albums a few times each. Maybe it’s even going to be a farewell run, though that seems unlikely. We’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to know for sure, but here’s hoping he’s feeling super-ambitious and plans to play his whole catalog.