Thursday, January 24, 2008
So…first I do it and then I find myself seeing the show at the Carson Center last night.
Is it just me or is there a lot of Movin’ Out going around these days?
Just the thought of seeing a show based on the music of Billy Joel brought back a ton of memories from high school. There were a few albums back then that provided my life soundtrack and Joel’s “Glass Houses” was one that lived in the tape player constantly, right beside the Pat Benatar and the Cars. I can probably recite every lyric on the Glass Houses song list.
I was so inspired at the thought of seeing the show in fact, that I ran right out and bought The Essential Billy Joel and am enjoying it even now. Joel’s music is timeless and irresistibly catchy and I’m glad I got reminded of that.
My thoughts on the show are mixed. I purposefully didn’t learn anything much about the format going in and was a bit surprised the show was, essentially, a rock ballet—no dialogue whatsoever. Joel’s music is cobbled together to form a story of sorts: a young, innocent group of friends live through high school, war, drug addiction, love, loss—essentially, an American odyssey. The performers tell the story through dance while a narrator of sorts—not surprisingly one guy at a piano backed up by a talented band of musicians—sings the songs.
The award winning dance, choreographed by Twyla Tharp, is interesting and intricate with a lot of human pyramid stuff going on: dancers lifting other dancers in ever more inventive ways. It was very pleasing to watch even if it wasn’t the A-Team we were seeing. The piano man (and I’d tell you his name if I hadn’t lost my program along the way) had a fine voice and incredible stamina considering the show required him to sing for nearly two hours straight.
As a Billy Joel fan, I loved hearing the familiar songs set to dance but wondered if members of the audience not so familiar with the songs were as captivated for the entire length of the show. A glaring omission, in my opinion, is the fact that Joel’s opus and signature song “Piano Man” was not included in the play list. I’m not sure how one even thinks about a show like this without including a song like that. Especially when so many lesser known and inferior (at least to “Piano Man”) songs were performed. Here's the list:
1. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
2. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
4. Just the Way You Are
5. The Longest Time
6. Uptown Girl
7. This Night
8. Summer, Highland Falls
9. Waltz (No. 1)
10. We Didn’t Start the Fire
11. She’s Got a Way
12. The Stranger
14. Invention in C Minor
15. Angry Young Man
16. Big Shot
17. Big Man on Mulberry Street
18. Captain Jack
19. An Innocent Man
21. Goodnight Saigon
22. Air (Dublinesque)
25. The River of Dreams/ Keeping the Faith/ Only the Good Die Young
26. I’ve Loved These Days/ Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
All in all, my quibbles are minor ones. It was a stellar night of entertainment in Paducah and I was thrilled to be included.
[As an aside—I have received a lot of concerned inquiries about my sleep situation. I should let you know that the butterfly is staying in his bottle these days, and I am sleeping normally thanks to the natural supplement melatonin. No more unconscious midnight snacks (that is SO last week!).]