John and Joel concert review


Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Picture this: Citizens Bank Park. A beautiful, clear-skied night. A four-hour concert with two of the most talented artists to sit at a piano. What is be wrong with a situation like that? 


July 31, 2009, Billy Joel (60) and Elton John (62) took the stage at Citizen’s Bank Park playing for an audience of 45,000 fans in their most recent musical excursion—The Face 2 Face tour.

And, just as expected, the duo did not disappoint. They opened the show with one of Elton John’s earliest hits, Your Song, and continued with various other hits—including We Didn’t Start the Fire, The River of Dreams, and Rocket Man, to name just a few—from each of their numerous CD’s. They performed a duet for each song, giving the singles an exciting new twist that only John and Joel could provide.

After the opening duets, John took the stage alone, continuing to sing his most popular songs. Though one cannot deny his talent—in fact, his voice has not changed even a little since his earlier days—John seemed somewhat pompous compared to his counterpart. Taking a bow after each song as if he were in a Broadway play, continuing some songs for over ten minutes just for the instrumentals and having barely interaction with the audience became irksome reoccurrences during his one-hour solo. However, he is Sir Elton John. And he still managed to wow the audience despite his brusque interaction. And, being in Philadelphia, who could deny standing and singing along to Philadelphia Freedom?

Next, once John left the stage after one more bow (before the copious ones during the encore began), Joel took over and truly blew the crowd away. A few concert dates had to be rescheduled due to Joel’s sickness during the tour, but although it was obvious that he was not feeling up to par, Joel pushed through like a true fighter. His face showed the strain, but his voice only faltered at a few points and his charisma never missed a beat. Joel kept up a great connection with the audience, involving them in every single song. The only disappointment was the absence of The Stranger; but, it is certainly forgivable considering his overall fantastic performance.

After each artist had his chance to wow the crowd individually, John and Joel returned to the stage together again for more duets. In all, John and Joel managed to perform just about all of any fan’s favorite tunes. For the encore, the duo played about 7 songs, ending with one of Joel’s first hit songs: Piano Man. The artists could not have made a more perfect choice. They left the stage to some of the loudest cheers in Philadelphia, probably only topped by the Phillies’ World Series win.

Every song was accompanied by ecstatic fans’ voices and almost always a standing ovation. John and Joel played fantastically together and put on a concert that would please even the most avid fans. So, what is wrong with the situation? Absolutely nothing.