March 2002 Articles

Tour Dates Postponed
Press Release
March 18th, 2002

     The Billy Joel and Elton John "Face 2 Face" concert dates in
New York and New Jersey are being rescheduled, including the
performance scheduled for Madison Square Garden on Monday, March
18th, 2002. Billy Joel is currently under medical supervision and
has been diagnosed with an inflamed vocal chord, which requires
a sustained period of rest. We will announce the rescheduled date in
the near future. Tickets for the March 18th, 2002 show will be
honored on the new date. We apologize for any inconvenience this
may cause. Patrons unable to attend the new dates should return
their tickets to the point of purchase for a refund.

Tour Dates Postponed -
New York, New Jersey, Boston, and Tampa

"Being a New Yorker - and since it's been so rough for all of us
this past year - I did not want to let my hometown down. So, I tried
to do the best I could Friday night at the Garden. I pushed it more
that I should have and, unfortunately, I now have to try to
reschedule all of our remaining New York and New Jersey concerts. I
have been assured by my doctors that I will make a complete recovery
and will be able to give the audience 100 percent and perform the
kick-ass show that Elton and I have been doing on this tour."


Joel, John Reschedule Missed Tour Dates
By: Jonathan Cohen
March 22nd, 2002

     Billy Joel and Elton John have rescheduled the 10 "Face 2 Face"
Tour dates they canceled last week due to a nagging illness suffered
by Joel. The pair will reunite in late September and early October
to perform in Tampa, FL, New York, Uniondale, NY, and East
Rutherford, NJ.

     As previously reported, Joel's tour manager, Max Loubiere, said
the performer was suffering from "acute upper respiratory infection
and laryngitis," and had been feeling under the weather for several
days upon the cancellation of the Tampa show.

     After a scheduled week off, Joel and John performed March 15th,
2002, their first scheduled show at Madison Square Garden in New
York. "Being a New Yorker - and since it's been so rough for all of
us this past year - I did not want to let my hometown down," Joel
said in a note posted on his official Web site. "So, I tried to do
the best I could Friday night at the Garden. I pushed it more that I
should have... I have been assured by my doctors that I will make a
complete recovery and will be able to give the audience 100% and
perform the kick-ass show that Elton and I have been doing on this

     Although it's expected that Joel will be healthy again long
before September, John has international touring commitments set for
April through July. He will kick off those plans April 17th, 2002 in
Adelaide, Australia. For more information, visit John's official web-

     In addition, the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp musical "Movin' Out" is
scheduled to premiere June 25th, 2002 at the Shubert Theatre in
Chicago. The show, which is based on more than 25 Joel songs (not
unlike the current ABBA-fueled hit "Mamma Mia!") is expected to move
to New York for an October 24th, 2002 Broadway debut.

Billy Joel: A Bad Cough?
By: Roger Friedman
March 19th, 2002

     The New York Times made gossip headlines yesterday with its
review of the Billy Joel-Elton John concert at Madison Square Garden
Friday night. Reviewer Kelefa Sanneh suggested Billy had taken
something more than cough syrup to cure what ailed him.

     "Mr. Joel seemed to have ingested something quite a bit
stronger than cough syrup. He sang for a while, and then he gave a
rambling speech in which he praised the audience, mocked the Liberty
Bell (for being cracked) and listed sites from American military
history," Sanneh wrote.

     This might have sounded odd to the pedestrian reader, but this
columnist witnessed Joel give a similar rambling, semi-coherent
speech at the NARAS MusiCares dinner on February 25th, 2002.

     It was clear at that time Joel had had "a bottle of red, a
bottle of white," as one of his songs goes. But it had been a long
night, with lots of liquor poured. As the honoree, Billy might have
been feeling nervous.

     A source close to Joel, whom I like and have never heard any
gossip about in this regard, said, "Billy's been sick. All the cold
medicine and everything else he's taken for his throat just caught
up with him. He did have too much to drink at the NARAS dinner, but
this was different."

     Billy and Elton have postponed their tour until Joel feels
better. Elton may be fuming, but I guess that's why they call it the

Billy and Elton Postpone Tour
Press Reports Billy Joel's Erratic Behavior; He Says He Was Sick
By: Jenny Eliscu
Rolling Stone

     Billy Joel and Elton John were forced to postpone the last
eight dates of their "Face 2 Face" Tour, explaining in a statement
that Joel was suffering from "acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal
cords, and an acute upper-respiratory infection." But the day that
announcement was made, The New York Times printed a review of the
March 15th, 2002 show at New York's Madison Square Garden that
characterized Joel's behavior as erratic and said the singer "seemed
to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough syrup."
"That's ridiculous," says a Columbia Records spokeswoman. Billy's
been under his doctor's care since February. His personal ear, nose
and throat man, Dr. Steve Rothstein, was backstage the whole night
at Madison Square Garden treating him just to get him through that

     On his web-site, Joel said that he should have canceled the
show due to illness: "Being a New Yorker - and since it's been so
rough for all of us this past year - I did not want to let my
hometown down...I pushed it more than I should have... I have been
assured by my doctors that I will make a complete recovery and will
be able to give the audience 100 percent and perform the kick-ass
show that Elton and I have been doing on this tour."

     At press time, canceled shows in New York; East Rutherford, New
Jersey; Boston; and Tampa, Florida, had yet to be rescheduled.

Magic of the Mad Impulse
When Performers Depart From Their Lines, Something Wonderful Can Happen
By: David Hinckley
New York Daily News

     By the time he got to Corregidor, it was clear to the 18,000
people in Madison Square Garden on the night of March 15th, 2002
that this show was deviating from the Billy Joel template.

     He had finished "The River of Dreams," his seventh song, when
he said, "I wanna throw out a couple of things."

     "Bunker Hill," he yelled.

     He was only getting started.

     "Valley Forge! Fort McHenry! New Orleans!" he
roared. "Antietam! That was a bad one."

     Yes, it was.

     "San Juan Hill! Argonne Forest!"

     It's a good thing this wasn't a quiz. If 5% of the audience
could even get the correct continent for the Argonne Forest, it
would have been astonishing. But geography was not his point.

     "Midway! Guadalcanal! Normandy! Iwo Jima!"

     This is just a sampling of the list. He was taking this one all
the way, bringing it home.

     "Chosin Reservoir! Khe Sanh! Desert Fucking Storm!"

     He paused.

     "Who the hell do they think they're fucking with?"

     He meant the terrorists, by the way.

     Then he played "New York State of Mind." It may have been the
best Billy Joel show ever.

     Ordinarily, Billy Joel is reliable. You know he'll sing 20, 25
songs. He'll sing "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant."

     He sang that one on March 15th, 2002, too. The difference was
what he said between songs. Like the way he recalled how he kept
seeing Brits like Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger at 9/11 benefits
and wondering "Where the fuck were all the New Yorkers?"

     Or the way he took so long to introduce the band that by the
time he got to drummer Liberty DeVitto, you were afraid old Liberty
might have retired.

     Now the back story here is that Joel came into the night with a
throat problem. He postponed a show in Michigan a few days earlier,
and while he wasn't going to blow off opening night in New York,
his "cold" was obviously on his mind. He mentioned it repeatedly and
finally told the crowd that anyone who wasn't satisfied could go to
the box office and get a ticket for some other night. Even though
the other nights were sold-out. Tell 'em Billy sent you and "let the
SOBs at Madison Square Garden worry about it," he said.

     The key question here, of course, is exactly what Joel did to
get himself to that stage. The New York Times reviewer, bluntly if
probably not alone, speculated he had taken something "a little
stronger than cough syrup."

     Me, I think medication would do it. But my wife, a big fan, had
a theory I like even better.

     "Look, he's walking around backstage at a rock and roll show
saying he needs something for his throat," she said. "Probably 55
people came up to him and said, 'Hey, man, got just what you need.
Take this.' You figure out the rest."

     After this show, they shut him down for at least six weeks. No
jokes about places where they don't let you sharpen the crayons,
please. My only regret was all the battles he didn't get to.
Chickamauga! The OK Corral!

     This was a great show for the same reason Eddie Vedder's wine-
fueled 18-minute talk about the Ramones was the highlight of the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dinner three nights later. Same reason
the best part of the endless Oscar show was Halle Berry planting her
feet as they were trying to run her off stage and yelling, "It's
been 74 years," which is how long it took for a black leading
actress to win an Oscar. Now she had a couple more things she needed
to say.

     It's so satisfying to watch something that wasn't planned,
polished and spit-shined.

     So many shows, even rock and roll shows, are preproduced to the
split second, because the computer-programmed music and lighting
require everyone be at spot X, singing note Y, when the computer
needs them there.

     Most television has been prerecorded and edited for years. A
genuine live show now, even an awards show, is a novelty.

     Recorded music is increasingly put together like a jigsaw
puzzle, one note at a time.

     Even radio, which correctly bills itself as the most
spontaneous of media, tries to color inside the lines. Music deejays
rarely get to talk. Most of the supposedly spontaneous bits on wacky
shows are mapped out beforehand.

     This is not to criticize professionalism and preparation. It is
to suggest that unscripted moments, provided they stay this side of
embarrassing and interminable, are a triple-chocolate muffin in a
buffet of rice cakes.


Joel's Illness Derails Tour
By: Peter Goodman
March 19th, 2002

     Billy Joel, who postponed last night's Madison Square Garden
concert citing an inflamed vocal cord, apparently also suffered from
acute laryngitis and an acute upper respiratory infection, a Joel
spokesman said yesterday.

     The singer-songwriter also has pulled out of an additional seven
dates scheduled through April 11th, 2022 at Nassau Coliseum and
Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. They are expected to be
rescheduled for some time in the fall, the spokesman said. Joel is
said to be resting under medical supervision at home.

     He appeared to be quite ill during a Friday night concert at the
Garden, part of his national "Face 2 Face" tour with Elton John. He
had been having vocal problems at least since canceling a performance
February 2nd, 2002 in Boston. At that time, he was described as
suffering from a very bad cold "with flu-like symptoms." Joel took a
scheduled weeklong break, and then he and John resumed their tour
with four performances in Hartford, six in Philadelphia, three in
Fort Lauderdale and one in Tampa, before canceling a second program
there on March 11th, 2002. That cancellation was described as being
caused by an infection of the upper-respiratory tract.

     The week's rest between Tampa and New York, also under medical
supervision, apparently was not enough for a full recovery. After he
struggled through on Friday, the cancellation was announced late

     "When he gets better, we can't say," the spokesman said
yesterday. "Hopefully, it will be soon. We expect a 100 percent
complete recovery."

Billy Joel/Elton John Concerts Postponed
March 18th, 2002

     All Billy Joel and Elton John "Face 2 Face" concerts in New
York and New Jersey have been postponed because Joel is being
treated for an inflamed vocal cord, tour representatives said today.

     Joel and John drew mixed reviews after their first performance
last Friday at Madison Square Garden. While some critics enjoyed the
performance, others said Joel struggled.

     Shows were slated for tonight at the Garden; Wednesday, Friday
and March 28th and March 30th, 2002 at the Nassau Coliseum; April
4th, 8th, and 11th, 2002 at Continental Arena in New Jersey.

     Rescheduled dates are to be announced later this week,
according to a news release from Radio City Entertainment.

     Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum officials said four dates
scheduled for this month will be postponed until September or

     Coliseum officials said that tickets will be accepted at the
rescheduled shows or can be returned to where they were purchased.

     More information on the Nassau shows can be obtained by calling
(516) 794-9303, or on the web at

Billy and Elton Postpone Shows
Billy Joel & Elton John...Have Postponed Their Remaining 8 Area Shows!
March 17th, 2002

     Billy Joel & Elton John's remaining 8 sold-out area shows have
been postponed. Billy has an upper respiratory infection and vocal
chord hemorrhaging.

     Tickets can be re-used for the rescheduled shows or refunded.
Rescheduling info will be announced early next week.

     Of course, we will have full details as soon as they are
announced, so keep it here on 95.5, WPLJ!

Face To Face 2002 Setlist
Madison Square Garden: New York, NY
March 15th, 2002

Set-List: Your Song (Duet)
Just The Way You Are (Duet)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Duet)
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (EJ)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (EJ)
Philadelphia Freedom (EJ)
I Want Love (EJ)
Rocket Man (EJ)
Take Me To The Pilot (EJ)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (EJ)
Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters (EJ)
Levon (EJ)
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (EJ)
I'm Still Standing (EJ)
Crocodile Rock (EJ)
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (BJ)
Allentown (BJ)
Girl From New York City (BJ)
Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (BJ)
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) (BJ)
Prelude/Angry Young Man (BJ)
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (BJ)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (BJ)
The River of Dreams (BJ)
New York State of Mind (BJ)
I Go To Extremes (BJ)
Only The Good Die Young (BJ)
My Life (Duet)
Here Comes The Sun (Duet)
The Bitch Is Back (Duet)
You May Be Right (Duet)
Bennie and The Jets (Duet)
Great Balls of Fire (Duet)
Piano Man (Duet)

The Keys To The Garden
By: Steve Matteo
March 18th, 2002

     "Face 2 Face" Tour with Billy Joel and Elton John. We were all
in the mood for a melody and they had us feeling all right. Madison
Square Garden. Also, MSG tonight; Nassau Coliseum March 20th, 22nd,
28th, 30th, 2002; Continental Airlines Arena, NJ, April 4th, 8th,
and 11th, 2002. All shows sold-out. Seen Friday.

     Speculation over whether the New York stop of the Billy Joel-
Elton John "Face 2 Face" Tour would even take place fueled the drama
of Friday's opening-night Madison Square Garden show.

     With Joel dressed in black and John resplendent in a sparkly
green and aqua suit, the two, backed by John's band, began with
John's "Your Song." Joel made it clear that no matter how he was
feeling after his recent illness - which nearly canceled the show -
he was going to play his heart out.

     After a joint performance of "Just The Way You Are," Joel said
of the Garden, "We think this is the best club there is." The two
did "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," and then Joel left the stage
for John's solo part of the show.

     John began with a powerful rendition of the opening suite
from "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," thanks in part to
longtime sidemen, drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey
Johnstone. John indicated Joel was a great deal sicker than he was
letting on. Throughout the show, John abandoned his diva guise and
was ebullient all evening, singing as well as ever, and after many
numbers, leapt off his piano stool in triumph.

     "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" blew the original studio
recording away and "I Want Love," one of two songs John performed
from the underrated, recent "Songs From The West Coast," was as good
as any other song in his set. "Take Me To The Pilot," with its
soaring power, was one of the highlights of the show.

     As impressive as John's set was, the hometown fans roared when
Joel came on with his band. With more between-song patter about his
sickness and the ridiculously high prices of the top tickets - which
he blamed on the greed of those who own Madison Square Garden - as
well as encouragement to soldier on in the aftermath of September
11th, 2001, Joel churned out classic after classic. "Scenes From An
Italian Restaurant" and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," among others,
were delivered with an intensity that belied Joel's occasional vocal
limitations due to his bout with an acute respiratory infection and

     "I Go To Extremes" and "Only The Good Die Young" drove the
house mad, and Joel was able to match John in the length and spirit
of his set.

     John returned for a rousing "My Life" and then, with both bands
on stage, the two performed an emotional version of "Here Comes The

     The historic piano summit of nearly four hours may never come
around again, and even with one half playing hurt, it was a show New
York music fans will not soon forget.

Two 'Piano Men' On The Road From Nostalgia To Chaos
By: Kelefa Sanneh

     Is there any instrument less versatile than a piano? It
steamrolls across the aural landscape, turning every song it touches
into piano music, turning every singer who touches it into a piano

     On Friday night Billy Joel and Elton John came to Madison
Square Garden. Two "Piano Men" with four first names used 176 keys
to create an evening that progressed from nostalgia to chaos.

     They played a few songs together, and then Mr. Joel
disappeared, leaving Sir Elton alone with his five-piece band. His
turquoise suit sparkling, Sir Elton attacked each song the way a
contestant on "Fear Factor" might attack a plate of worms: first he
took a deep breath, then he gulped his way through, and then he
sprang to his feet and exulted in victory.

     There were lots of hits, of course, and the new songs held up
surprisingly well. "I Want Love" sounds at first like a conventional
ballad, with Sir Elton complaining of "old scars toughening up
around my heart." But the lyrics, written by Bernie Taupin, resist
the romantic tug of the rolling chords. "A man like me is dead in
places," Sir Elton sang. "I want a love that don't mean a thing."

     When Mr. Joel emerged for his set, there was sympathy as well
as adulation: the audience had been warned that he had a cold. But
Mr. Joel seemed to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than
cough syrup. He sang for a while, and then he gave a rambling speech
in which he praised the audience, mocked the Liberty Bell (for being
cracked) and listed sites from American military
history. "Corregidor!" he bellowed, as the applause started to
ebb. "Midway! Guadalcanal!"

     At times Mr. Joel's condition made his songs more effective.
When he slumped forward on his bench and slurred, "Don't, don't,
don't try to save me," he sounded truly hopeless. As he wailed he
banged on his keys almost at random.

     "Bennie and The Jets" had been planned as a piano duel, but
this version was positively avant-garde, with Sir Elton hammering
the chords and Mr. Joel producing a cacophonous soundscape. (When it
was over, Sir Elton mouthed, "Thank God.")

     The concert ended with an unusual rendition of Mr.
Joel's "Piano Man." As he got to the most famous line "Son, can
you play me a memory? I'm not really sure how it goes" Mr. Joel
looked as if he were about to nod off.

     And so, with Sir Elton's help, the audience took over the role
of the "Piano Man," singing a sentimental song to a washed-out
fellow who once knew the words.

Piano Men
By: Dan Aquilante

     While the concept of dusting off the Brit vs. Yank rivalry was
hardly revolutionary, the battle of the bands Friday at Madison
Square Garden between Billy Joel and Elton John offered the sold-out
house loads of thrills and even a few spills.

     The smart money was on Elton John, the gap-toothed queen of
England, to be the night's top dog. He strutted into the Garden
wearing aquamarine silks, ready to bury overweight Billy Joel, who
not only looked too round to pound but was laid low by a cold that
had forced him to cancel a gig in the Sunshine State earlier in the

     The very healthy, 3½-hour show was structured with a shared
introduction, then separate (full) concert sets and a shared encore.

     In their intro, which stitched "Your Song," "Just The Way You
Are," and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" together, John was
totally on the money vocally and in his work at the ivories. Joel
croaked and wrung his hands as if they were so sweaty he was gonna
slip off the piano.

     Joel coughed, he said "it's just a little cold - that don't
stop us here" and he even made a little joke by placing emphasis on
the line "I love you, that's forever" during "Just The Way You Are,"
a tune he wrote for his first ex-wife. But despite his trouper's the-
show-must-go-on attitude, the guy seemed pretty messed up.

     John confirmed it at the start of his solo set, expressing his
gratitude for Joel's effort and revealing that "Billy really is

     He then ignited a set that actually made people wonder if Joel
was going to come back at all.

     There were the signature songs like "Philadelphia
Freedom," "Rocket Man," "Crocodile Rock" and "Levon" all of which
had the expected audience approval.

     Yet it was in the syncopated rocker "Take Me To The Pilot"
where John pulled out all the stops and took the concert to the next
level. The guy hammered at the piano with sharp, open-handed blows
as if to remind us it really is a percussion instrument.

     You could be Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, or even Joe
Steinway, but Elton's set would have given you pianist envy. It
would have been a tough act to follow had Billy been in tip-top

     The break while Elton played served Billy's voice well. When he
opened his set with "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," if the Long
Island native hadn't alerted us that he was sick, it may have gone
unnoticed. Energy, momentum and being in the Garden helped Joel defy
gravity for a while.

     He killed during "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," was fiery
for "Prelude/Angry Young Man" and was just plain wonderful for "New
York State of Mind," which he cleverly segued into George Gershwin's
famous New York homage "Rhapsody In Blue." Still, by the time Joel
finished his set with "Only The Good Die Young," you could count his
voice among the casualties.

     In the end, Elton was terrific and did win the battle, but
Joel, as croaky and hurt as he was, won the war with the underdog's
spirit of trying just a bit harder and giving the fans more than he
or anyone thought he had.

Pianist Envy
By: Dan Aquilante
March 15th, 2002

     Individually, Billy Joel and Elton John put on a great concert,
but together their Brit vs. Yank spirit has made the performances on
their current tour together incredible. The show dubbed "Face 2
Face" features Joel and Elton, together and seperately, in a program
of their greatest hits. While each of these rock icons has a
songbook of chart toppers, the best part of the performance,
according to many reports, is their double-teaming on the Jerry Lee
Lewis classic "Great Balls of Fire." The tour is at Madison Square
Garden tonight and Monday, at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday and March
22nd, 2002, and at the arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex April
6th, 2002 and April 8th, 2002.

The 'Piano Men'
Joel and John Face The Fact Their Fans Still Love Their Music
By: Glenn Gamboa

     Billy Joel didn't understand why Linkin Park wanted to meet him.

     The tattooed rap-metalists rushed over before their own concert
started across the parking lot at The Spectrum to catch the start of
Joel and Elton John's show. "They said they wanted to see what all
the fuss was about," Joel says, a few days later. "We said, 'What
are you talking about? You guys are the hot guys. You're the biggest-
selling band since they created CDs.' And they were saying, 'No, all
the buzz is about you guys and all the business you're doing.' Elton
and I just looked at each other and said, 'Really?'"

     Buzz? Billy Joel and Elton John? You better believe it.

     Sure, Joel hasn't released a pop album in almost nine years,
and John's latest, "Songs From the West Coast," has been only a
modest hit. But at a time when chart-toppers such as the Backstreet
Boys and Britney Spears have trouble selling out single tour stops
in arenas, Joel and John have easily sold-out multiple nights - four
shows in Boston, six in Philadelphia and, now, nine in and around
New York City - and left thousands more clamoring for seats.

     "I don't know how to explain it," Joel says. "I don't want to
sound jaded, but I guess we're just used to doing this kind of
business. It's just one of those things where the two of us
together, it's just 1+1=10. They're always telling us, 'You did
this' and 'You sold out that' and we're always like, 'Yeah, OK. What
are we going to do for the show tonight? What's going on the set
list?'" In a way, the success of Joel and John's "Face 2 Face" Tour
simply follows the successes they have seen in their three-decade-
long careers.

     After all, Joel and John have sold a combined 141 million
albums in the United States, led by Joel's "Greatest Hits Volume I &
II," which has sold 21 million copies to become the fifth-biggest
album of all-time.

     However, in the fast-paced, here-today, gone-tonight world of
pop music, loyalty and long-term memories aren't always sure things
among fans. And the success of Joel and John's "Face 2 Face" Tour
has impressed many in the industry - not just up-and-comers such as
Linkin Park.

     "It's something of a phenomenon," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor
of PollStar, the concert-industry trade magazine. "Considering that
the average ticket price is so high - the average ticket price is
above $100 for these shows -- it ultimately comes down to the fact
that the combination is something that the public really sees as a
special event and is worth paying a premium even in down economic
times. It's showed that the aging boomer generation has stayed true
to the artists they grew up on. It's not like they suddenly turned
50 and then evolved into a Tommy Dorsey fan."

     Joel and John performed only 31 shows in 2001, but that was
enough to pull in $58.9 million, making it the sixth-biggest tour of
the year, even though it was only about a third as long as the U2
and Backstreet Boys tours, didn't include stadiums like *NSYNC and
the Dave Matthews Band's appearances and lacked the all-out media
frenzy of the Madonna tour.

     What makes "Face 2 Face" even more remarkable is that it defies
the music industry convention that big tours work best in
conjunction with new albums and all the attention that comes with

     "We may not be the media buzz, but we're what the people really
want," says Joel's agent, Dennis Arfa, president of Artist Group
International, which, in an unusual step in the Clear Channel-
dominated concert business, books the tour along with John's agent,
Howard Rose.

     "There's all this about superstar media acts having trouble
selling out one night in an arena. Well, we're the real stuff.
People know that they're going to get something great here," Arfa

     So far this year, the "Face 2 Face" Tour is by far the leader,
although it will face stiff competition once the main concert season
begins in May. The tour holds four of the Top 5 spots, with Luis
Miguel's six-night run in Los Angeles coming in at #4, according to
Billboard magazine. Joel and John's six shows in Philadelphia took
the top spot, bringing in $13 million, about half of the $25 million
the tour has racked up through the end of February.

     That figure will grow considerably after the tour's New York
metro area run of nine shows, which starts Friday night at Madison
Square Garden.

     "Billy Joel, as popular as he is, he's never been a press
darling like, say, Michael Jackson," Arfa says. "He's the #2 selling
artist behind The Beatles, but I don't think anyone ever would've
picked that. He quietly has broken records. But the media doesn't
vote for his success. The public does."

     On a chilly February night in Philadelphia, Joel and John's
public is out in force. The crowd is overwhelmingly baby boomers,
though many have teens in tow. There's a bunch of guys in their late
20s tailgating out of their SUV, singing along with "We Didn't Start
The Fire" as they down a few brews. And Kelly Thiel and Penny
Karvounis are belting out an a capella version of "Philadelphia
Freedom" in the middle of the First Union Center lobby before the

     What the 23 year-olds lack in, er, melody, they more than make
up for in enthusiasm. "Philadelphia freedom, I lu-uh-uhve you,"
sings Thiel, dressed in jeans, a black T-shirt with "BILLY"
emblazoned on the front in shiny metallic letters, and "Rocket Man" -
era sunglasses.

     "Yes, I do," sings Karvounis, wearing the same outfit, only her
shirt says "ELTON." What they want more than anything is to meet
Joel and John. ("I just want to shake Bill's hand and say, 'Thank
you,'" says Thiel.) They hope that their song will land them a
backstage pass from the radio station DJ set up in the lobby.

     In the end, it gets them a round of applause from passersby and
a pair of plastic cups from the station. Their enthusiasm is still

     The Philadelphia concert is their third in five weeks, driving
in from Baltimore just for the show. They scored their 10th row
seats - "the closest yet!" Karvounis says - on eBay.

     "We've maxed out our credit cards doing this," says Thiel, who
works in an animal hospital.

     "We've been working 70 hours a week to pay for this," adds
Karvounis, who manages a yogurt store. "But it's worth it." They get
more excited as they talk about the show, finishing each other's
sentences as they remember previous experiences.

     "Every song is great," Karvounis says.

     "It just hits you right here," Thiel says, pointing to the
middle of her chest, right between the two Ls in "BILLY." "It tells
you something about yourself."

     They know they are about two decades younger than the bulk of
the fans at the show, which only becomes a problem when people yell
at them for dancing during the upbeat songs.

     "After September 11th, 2001, nothing made me happy until we saw
them," Thiel says. "All the other stuff, the boy bands, the *NSYNC,
the stuff that's supposed to be for me, it just didn't do it. It was
weird. We went to the show in Washington with a bunch of people and
we were just blown away."

     "After a couple songs, we looked at each other and said, 'We
have to come back,'" Karvounis says. "It's like an addiction."

     The "Face 2 Face" Tour is built on repeat business. The
audiences are packed with people who have seen Joel and John several
times over the years. They come, in part, to relive those previous
concert experiences and, in part, to see something new.

     Joel and John cater to both parts. They open and close the
show "Face 2 Face," playing on each other's songs and turning them
into never-before-heard duets.

     There's no waiting for hits in this show, either. They open
with John's "Your Song," Joel's "Just The Way You Are" and
John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" before Joel leaves the
stage for John's hour-long solo set. After John's set, Joel returns
for an hour-long set of his own before John returns and they close
out the show together with another round of duets that include, on
this night, The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" and Jerry Lee
Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire," as well as John's "Bennie and the
Jets" and Joel's "Piano Man."

     The crowd stays with Joel and John throughout the 3½-hour
which has no intermissions, though there is a bit of a lull when
John plays two songs from his new album, "Songs From The West
Coast" - the hits "I Want Love" and "This Train Don't Stop There
Anymore." That's the point in the show when the audience often
decides to make a beer run or take a bathroom break and that exodus
is not lost on John.

     "Elton has a new album that's done pretty well and I know he
would love to play more of it, but the audience just doesn't respond
to it the way he would like them to," says Joel, whose latest
album, "Fantasies & Delusions," is a collection of his classical
compositions. "Everybody wants to hear the older stuff. Of course, I
go out and say, 'I've got a new album, too. But don't worry, I'm not
going to try to play any of that stuff.' And the audience
goes, 'Yeah!' That's OK, I knew that would happen."

     Those responses helped Joel and John realize that maybe
the "Face 2 Face" Tour, an idea that launched in stadiums in 1994,
has run its course.

     "Our agents keep wanting us to do more and more and more," Joel
says. "But I've put a limit on it. The New York-New Jersey shows
will be the end of this tour." At this point, Joel won't rule out
the possibility of taking "Face 2 Face" around America another time,
but it won't happen this year. The duo is considering offers to take
the tour to Europe and Asia and, perhaps, Australia this year.

     "It's starting to feel like an oldies act, and I don't want to
feel like that," Joel says. "I don't feel like I'm going out there
as a nostalgia act - yet. But I'm aware that a certain amount of
that is inherent in the show. They really want to hear the
chestnuts, but you do chestnuts for so many years and after a while,
you're not really doing anything. So until I can somehow figure out
a way to refresh myself as a performing artist, it seems like a good
place to kind of stop."

     As the tour winds down, Joel is left wondering about the
future. Will there be more pop songs? Maybe, though he doesn't feel
any strong desire to write that kind of music at the moment. Another
classical album? Perhaps.

     "I have no idea what I'm going to do," he says. "It's an
interesting place to be. It's not the most secure feeling in the
world, but that's OK, too. Sometimes not being secure is a good
motivator to do things."

     In the meantime, Joel is content to see how his songs continue
to make their way into the world. "New York State of Mind," for
example, recently received a Grammy nomination when he re-recorded
it with Tony Bennett. Garth Brooks and even Linkin Park have
expressed interest in recording new versions of his songs. "I look
at the songs I wrote as if they were my children," he says. "Now,
they're going out on their own and making money for the old man...
It's not so much the 'Billy Joel Rock Star' thing. The fact that I'm
a composer, that's my legacy.

     "That's the most important thing to me, the material that I
leave behind."

AC/DC Members Take Billy Joel To 'Hell' In Concert
By: Bruce Simon

     There may be a partial explanation for Billy Joel's battle with
laryngitis, which forced him to cancel Monday's (March 11th, 2002)
show with Elton John in Tampa, Florida. The duo played in the city on
Saturday (March 9th, 2002) and, during the show, Joel went on a rant
about AC/DC and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, according to the St.
Petersburg Times. When he finished, Joel surprised the crowd by
bringing AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams on
stage, and the pair proceeded to run through the AC/DC
standard "Highway To Hell" with Joel's band.

     Joel has actually been sick for a little while, and was advised
not to do Saturday's show, but he went ahead with it anyway and has
now been diagnosed with an acute upper respiratory infection to go
along with his laryngitis.

     Joel and John are scheduled to bring their "Face 2 Face" Tour to
Madison Square Garden in New York City tomorrow (March 15th, 2002).
At press time, the show was still a go.

Illness Postpones Elton John/Billy Joel Concert

     Singers Billy Joel and Elton John had to postpone a Monday
concert in St. Petersburg after Joel became ill.

     A manager says Joel is suffering from "acute upper respiratory
infection and laryngitis," and has been feeling under the weather
for several days. The concert at the Ice Palace last night was
scheduled as part of a national tour featuring the two artists.

     Arena officials say the concert will be rescheduled, but no
date is set. Ticket holders are advised to keep their tickets.

     Joel's physician advised against performing last Saturday
night, but he did so anyway. Both Joel and John are scheduled to
perform Friday night at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Billy Joel and Elton John Postpone Concert Because of Illness
March 12th, 2002

     Billy Joel and Elton John postponed a Monday concert after Joel
became ill.

     Joel is suffering from "acute upper respiratory infection and
laryngitis," and has been feeling under the weather for several
days, said Max Loubiere, his tour manager.

     The concert at the Ice Palace was scheduled as part of a
national tour featuring the two artists.

     Arena officials said the concert will be rescheduled, but no
date was released. Ticket holders were advised to keep their

     "We're trying to see what the schedule is, what Elton's
schedule is," Loubiere told the St. Petersburg Times. "We'll just
have to wait and see."

     Joel's physician advised against performing Saturday night, but
the artist did so anyway, singing to a sold-out, 3½-hour concert,
Loubiere said.

     Joel and John are scheduled to perform Friday night at New
York's Madison Square Garden.

Ill Joel Forces Concert Postponement

     The Billy Joel/Elton John concert scheduled for Monday at the
Ice Palace was postponed Monday afternoon due to Joel's "acute upper
respiratory infection and laryngitis," his tour manager said.

     The Ice Palace advised ticket holders to hang on to their
tickets for the rescheduled concert, but no date was announced.

     "That's a good question," tour manager Max Loubiere said when
asked when the show might be rescheduled. "We're trying to see what
the schedule is, what Elton's schedule is. We'll just have to wait
and see."

     Loubiere said Joel had been under the weather for the past few
days and the physician who examined him Saturday before that night's
sold-out Ice Palace show advised him not to perform that night,

     Still, Joel "sang with vigor, cracked jokes and chatted with
the audience" during his portion of the 3½-hour concert, St.
Petersburg Times pop music critic Gina Vivinetto wrote in her

     "This morning, he woke up, and he wasn't any better... He
really, really hates to cancel, but it would be foolish to go on,"
Loubiere said Monday.

     Joel and John are next scheduled to perform Friday night at New
York's Madison Square Garden.

Joel, John Delicious Together
By: Gina Vivinetto

     The "Face 2 Face" Tour starring pop icons Elton John and Billy
Joel may have reminded some in the sold-out Ice Palace crowd of more
than 19,400 on Saturday of those old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
television commercials where two unique flavors blend to form one
surprisingly yummy result.

     Joel and John are so delightfully different. The flamboyant
John wore a turquoise suit at Saturday's 3½-hour show but acted
less campy than we've seen him. In fact, the dapper Brit was
downright reserved. It was New Yorker Joel, dressed in a
conservative dark suit, who mugged for fans and milked lyrics for

     One thing shared by the duo, now on their fourth "Face 2 Face"
Tour since 1994 - with Saturday's show the first of two dates at the
Ice Palace - is dozens of piano-driven pop hits.

     The show kicked-off with Joel and John hamming it up to Yankee
Doodle beneath images of the American flag and the Union Jack. The
pair sat at two grand pianos, Joel singing the first lines to John's
smash "Your Song," then trading verses with his partner. The two
launched into Joel's "Just The Way You Are," followed by
John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" before Joel left the stage
to give John his 70 minutes in the spotlight.

     It takes at least that much time to showcase John's three-
decade career filled with hits. His set began with the synth-heavy
instrumental "Funeral For A Friend...," which sounded very 1970s and
looked the part thanks to John's stuck-in-a-time-warp backing band,
musicians he has played with since the "Honky Chateau" days,
including guitarist Davey Johnstone - he of the long hair and prog
rock arpeggios - and drummer Nigel Olsson. (Later Johnstone even
pulled out that classic rock staple, the double-necked electric
guitar.) That song morphed into the rollicking "...Love Lies

     One after another, John delivered the hits, with fans rising
out of their seats and boogying to "Philadelphia Freedom." Wisely,
he dipped into material from "Songs From The West Coast," his superb
new CD that critics are heralding as a return to form after years of
sentimental Disney soundtrack fare. The current hit "I Want Love"
went over well with fans, followed by the swirling harmonies of the
1970s smash "Rocket Man," featuring John's dazzling keyboard
flourishes during a lengthy jam that inspired a standing ovation.

     John sang a heartfelt "I Guess That's Why They Call It The
Blues," perhaps one of the finest pop songs ever written. John's
band gave the song extra oomph with their soaring, soulful
harmonies. It brought another standing ovation. Next
came "Levon," "I'm Still Standing," and a zippy sing-
along "Crocodile Rock," his set's closer.

     Joel's set was filled with surprises. He began with "Scenes
From An Italian Restaurant," "Allentown," then teased fans with a
vote for his third song, which he ignored and performed "Don't Ask
Me Why."

     Joel on Saturday ranted about AC/DC being considered as
nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Then he shocked the
audience by introducing AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, a resident
of Sarasota, and bassist Cliff Williams, who performed the
raucous "Highway To Hell" with Joel's band.

     Joel's set also included the timely "New York State of Mind," a
song Joel recently re-recorded with crooner Tony Bennett, who
performed the tune the night before at Ruth Eckerd Hall, and a
kicky "You May Be Right."

     Fans' cheers grew even louder when the two stars came together
again for a final set of combined hits, including Joel's "My
Life," "You May Be Right," and "Piano Man" and John's "Candle In The
Wind" and "Bennie and the Jets."

Elton John and Billy Joel, Talking About Songs
By: Anthony DeCurtis

     At a time when the music industry is jittery about its very
future, two veteran artists are touring together and selling out
shows as if the boom times of the 90's had never ended. Billy Joel
and Elton John's "Face 2 Face" tour, which stops in the New York
area for nine arena shows beginning at Madison Square Garden on
Friday, serves up a staggering array of hits that fans regard as
well worth the money even at a top ticket price of $175. The shows,
in which the two men perform each other's songs both together and
separately, are noteworthy at a time when attention-addled listeners
are increasingly focused on specific songs, rather than albums, and
find few artists worthy of their continued support.

     In many ways, Mr. Joel, who is 52, and Mr. John, who turns 55
this month, are at different points in their careers. Last year, Mr.
John released "Songs From the West Coast," a suite written with his
longstanding collaborator, the lyricist Bernie Taupin, which has
been hailed as reminiscent of their strongest work from the 1970s.
Mr. Joel has not released an album of new songs since "River of
Dreams" in 1993, and he has no plans to do so any time soon.
Instead, he has turned to composing instrumental piano pieces in a
Romantic style. Last year he released "Fantasies & Delusions: Music
for Solo Piano," which, as performed by the pianist Richard Joo,
went to #1 on the classical music charts.

     In concert Mr. Joel and Mr. John unleash close to three dozen
pop gems: "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," "Scenes From An Italian
Restaurant," "Levon," "New York State of Mind," "Rocket Man," "Piano
Man." Most extraordinarily, their catalogs, dating back three
decades, run so deep that you could construct another set list,
equally long - and equally strong - without repeating a single song.
They seemed, then, like ideal candidates for a conversation about
the art of songwriting - its rewards, its discontents and its
current state of health. That conversation took place backstage
before one of their shows at the First Union Center here last month.

Anthony DeCurtis: It's easy to see how a young person could get
interested in being a performer, but how did you get interested in
writing songs?

Elton John: I was in a mediocre band called "Bluesology," playing
behind the English blues singer Long John Baldry. At this stage we
were doing cabaret, because he'd had a couple of pop hits. The
cabaret thing was killing me. Nobody cared. I thought, "What can I
do?" I sang a couple of songs with the band, but I didn't really
sing. I thought, "Maybe I can write songs." So I answered this
advert for Liberty Records. I went there and said, "I like to write
songs, but I can't write lyrics." And they said, well, here's a
bunch of lyrics by this guy in Lincolnshire, who happened to be
Bernie Taupin. And history was made.

DeCurtis: Billy, you've described songwriting as "the loneliest job
in the world." Have you thought of collaborating, the way Elton

Billy Joel: I tried it, and the only thing worse than doing it by
yourself is doing it with somebody else. You can't share the
responsibilities. [To Mr. John] I don't think Bernie's there when
you're working on his lyrics.

John: No, but he can be in the same building [laughs]. I couldn't
have him in the room it would be too distracting. It's sacred
me, that selfish piece of it, where, you think, "This is my part of
the baby." Sometimes, when you've first written a song, and you've
got it right, it's the best it will ever sound.

Joel: Yes. It's Promethean. You were there at the birth. And then
comes the postpartum depression [laughs].

DeCurtis: What's your sense of the current state of songwriting?

John: All the great songs of the '60s and '50s, you can still sing
them now. The lyrics were like poetry, but they weren't
overcomplicated. You can't actually think of someone going down the
road singing a complete Alanis Morissette lyric - it's impossible.

     If you look at the Top 10, say, even 15 years ago, you could
probably sing most of those songs. Now you look at it, and you're
not going to be singing Ja Rule in five years. Or Jennifer Lopez, or
any of it.

Joel: Actually, "song" is almost a misnomer now for what's on the

DeCurtis: Well, hip-hop and sampling have complicated the notion of
what songwriting is.

John: But there are only two or three chords, and it's just a riff.

Joel: Alicia Keys - now, she's talented. She's got the voice. She
knows how to arrange, sing and play the piano. But I listened to the
album, and I said, "I hear potential here, but I'm not getting blown

John: The great song she did, "Fallin'," that's "It's A Man's Man's
Man's World," the James Brown song. But it's her first album, for
heaven's sake. My first album was "Empty Sky," and hers is far
better than that.

DeCurtis: So what's the difference between now and when you were
starting out?

John: We had a well of great songwriters to draw on. You had Neil
Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen.

Joel: Lennon and McCartney.

John: Jagger and Richards.

Joel: Joni Mitchell.

John: Brian Wilson. Actually, there are three new people that I
think write great songs. One is Ryan Adams. Another is Pete Yorn.
And the other is John Mayer, whose album is called "Room for
Squares." They've gone back to listening to the great writers and
been influenced by them.

DeCurtis: Paul Simon once told me that when he heard The Beatles,
the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, he felt daunted because it seemed
as if they were so good, there might not be room for anybody else.

Joel & John: [simultaneously] I saw them as inspirational.

John: Absolutely. On the road, I played with great people. Leon
Russell. Derek and the Dominos. Every night I went onstage and
said, "Forget it, you're not going to follow me." And every night
they followed me and did better. It made my spirits soar.

Joel: It pushed you. We had these people kicking our butts.

DeCurtis: Among the '60s greats, Stevie Wonder seems to be exerting
a huge influence right now.

John: India.Arie is an example of that. I think her album is better
than Alicia Keys'. It's more personal, and it's got warmth and
style. Every musician is influenced by somebody. We all pinch
things. Like the first chord of [the Beach Boys'] "God Only Knows" -
I pinched it for "Someone Saved My Life Tonight."

DeCurtis: How do you view each other as songwriters?

John: The thing I love about Billy's music is what I loved about the
Band and Crosby, Stills and Nash. They could have only come out of
America. That gives his songs an identity, which is the hardest
thing for an artist to achieve. When Billy first came out, people
said, "He's just America's Elton John." I never got that. I always
thought he sounded perfectly like himself. And anyway, anybody who
plays piano has got my vote.

Joel: I was just going to go there about his writing. It's piano-
based, and it's eclectic. Some of his songs, he does in keys that
I'm not even familiar with. When I first learned "Your Song" by ear,
I played it in D, and there was something missing. Then, when it was
time for me to really learn it, he said, "Well, it's in E flat."
That's a difficult key if you're not familiar with it.

DeCurtis: Both of you have had songs like "New York State of Mind"
or "Candle in the Wind" that have not only had long lives, but that
have taken on meanings you never could have imagined for them.

Joel: That's one of the most gratifying feelings...

John: That your song lasts...

Joel: That it's gone beyond its time. That means, after you're gone,
that song will still be alive.

John: I've been very lucky. [The movie] "Almost Famous" came out
with "Tiny Dancer" and "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," and that's made
a lot of younger people come to my shows. And, well, "Candle In The
Wind" has been a freak. It's been a hit three times. It's proof of
what music can do.

I mean, when I was a drug addict and at the depth of my despair, I
used to listen to "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.
That was my life in words and music. That's what songs do to people.
When I was at my worst, I still clung to music.

DeCurtis: Billy, do you think you'll write pop songs again?

Joel: I don't know what it will take. I always wanted to be a better
lyric writer than I was. I wanted to write surrealistic lyrics like
David Bowie or abstract lyrics like Dylan or philosophical lyrics
like Leonard Cohen. Lyrics that weren't so bloody literal. It's
interesting, because it will be going on 10 years since I've
actually written a song.

DeCurtis: Elton, what motivates you to continue to make albums?

John: I'm so competitive. I'm really proud of this last album, but
I've had to work three times as hard to promote it, because, as a 54
year-old, I'm not going to get the same amount of airplay I used to.
It's a real battle. And I don't think I can do it again. I can't
spend the rest of my life doing chat shows. It's ridiculous.

DeCurtis: What's changed about writing songs as you've gotten older?

John: What's gotten harder is you need a hit to sell the album. I
think I got waylaid by that in the '80s and '90s. I mean, everything
I wrote I thought was genuinely from the heart, but because the
industry's changed so much, there's so much pressure, it probably
affected my writing. Now I'm willing to say to hell with that, and I
think my writing will become not easier but much clearer.

DeCurtis: How about the pressure on you, Billy, from your audience
or your record company?

Joel: I think people want me to recreate something that they liked
before, say, "Scenes From," you know, "an Asian Restaurant" [laughs]
or "Piano Man II." I don't want to do that. I hate repeating myself.

People who just know Billy Joel from Top 40 hit singles may not like
me, and I can't say I necessarily blame them. I don't think that
really represents the sum and substance of my work. I think a lot of
my hits were almost novelty songs. "Uptown Girl" was a joke. So
was "Tell Her About It" - that was my take on the Supremes.
Even "Piano Man" was a wacko song. I mean, people thought it was
Harry Chapin. But as long as it was a hit, that was all the record
company cared about.

When I wrote my last song, which is called "Famous Last Words," I
really meant, "These are the last words I have to say." But I gave
myself an out. I said, "Before another age goes by." I left the door
open to write songs again. And I may. I'm not saying I definitely
will. But I'm not saying I won't.

Face To Face 2002 Setlist

Ice Palace - Tampa, FL
Date: March 9th, 2002

Set-List: Your Song (Duet)
Just The Way You Are (Duet)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Duet)
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (EJ)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (EJ)
Philadelphia Freedom (EJ)
I Want Love (EJ)
Rocket Man (EJ)
Take Me To The Pilot (EJ)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (EJ)
Levon (EJ)
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (EJ)
I'm Still Standing (EJ)
Crocodile Rock (EJ)
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (BJ)
Allentown (BJ)
Don't Ask Me Why (BJ)
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (BJ)
Prelude/Angry Young Man (BJ)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (BJ)
The River of Dreams (BJ)
New York State of Mind (BJ)
I Go To Extremes (BJ)
Only The Good Die Young (BJ)
My Life (Duet)
Here Comes The Sun (Duet)
The Bitch Is Back (Duet)
You May Be Right (Duet)
Bennie and The Jets (Duet)
Great Balls of Fire (Duet)
Piano Man (Duet)

Keys To The Conspiracy
'Piano Man' and 'Rocket Man,' the hairlines, the Cyndi Lauper
connection...the similarities are uncanny, wouldn't you say?
By: Gina Vivinetto

     Before these "Face 2 Face" tours began in 1995, had you ever
seen pop piano stars Elton John and Billy Joel in the same room

     Of course not.

     They've got nothing in common but those 88 keys and a nearly
equal number of hits between them.

     Or could it be that you've never seen them together before
because - as we at Team Pop have long suspected - they're the same

     Call us paranoid, call us suspicious - others have called us
worse - but it sure would make sense. All those piano-driven hits in
the age of rock? The bevy of songs with eerily similar characters
and stories about everyday men in bars playing the piano for a dime,
or, um, in Elton's case, rocketing to the moon or being the savior
of mankind?

     You may ask: How to explain those onstage duets? Simple. Ever
heard of smoke and mirrors? Tricky camera angles? Technology, kids.
You can do anything these days with a stuffed dummy in a Victorian

     We here at Team Pop - however conspiracy-minded we may be - are
settling this thing once and for all. The truth is out there. Here
are the clues:

Both stars are shorter than average:
Billy Joel: 5 feet 7 inches
Elton John: 5 feet 8 inches

Both are bald:
Billy Joel: Chrome dome, hello!
Elton John: Okay, that's "hair," not hair. And it didn't used to be
there. (We've got pictures.)

Both write frequently about men:
Billy Joel: "Piano Man," "An Innocent Man"
Elton John: "Rocket Man"

...and, so tenderly, of women:
Billy Joel: "She's Always A Woman"
Elton John: "The Bitch Is Back"

Nearly identical girls show up in the songs:
Billy Joel: "Uptown Girl"
Elton John: "Island Girl"

Both have had duets with good-looking blondes:
Billy Joel: Christie Brinkley
Elton John: Eminem

Clues around the home:
Billy Joel: East Coast devotee ("New York State of
Mind," "Allentown")
Elton John: Worships the West Coast ("Songs From the West
Coast," "Rock of the Westies"). "Philadelphia Freedom" shows Elton
goes both ways.

Both, inexplicably, gravitate to the word 'honky':
Billy Joel: "Honky Tonk Woman" cover on "2000 Years: The Millennium
Elton John: "Honky Cat" on "Honky Chateau"

Both are preoccupied with leaving major cultural landmarks:
Billy Joel: "Say Goodbye To Hollywood"
Elton John: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

Both have Italian connections:
Billy Joel: Had a hit with "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant"
Elton John: Was pals with the late fashion designer Gianni Versace

Hoity toity musical stuff:
Billy Joel: Classically trained pianist. Joel cites Chopin and
Beethoven as influences. He's even composed an album of solo piano
Elton John: Played the "Pinball Wizard" (in the Who's rock opera
flick "Tommy"). That's highbrow!

Fixation with Russia, anyone?
Billy Joel: Wrote "Leningrad," recorded that live double
album "Kohuept"
Elton John: Scored a hit with "Nikita"

Just listen to them talk:
Billy Joel: Has New York accent
Elton John: Has British accent. But, really, doesn't it sound kind
of fake?

The motivation?
Billy Joel: Said he got into rock and roll to "meet girls"
Elton John: Did that song with Kiki Dee

Where to find them. Or, not find them:
Billy Joel: Recorded an album called "Songs In The Attic"
Elton John: Once lived "in the closet"

Weighty stuff:
Billy Joel: Recorded a commercial with Chubby Checker in 1970
Elton John: Says he's self-conscious about being chubby.

Aesthetics aren't everything:
Billy Joel: Recorded "The Nylon Curtain," 1982
Elton John: Probably wouldn't be caught dead with synthetic-blend
window treatments

Who wants to have fun?
Billy Joel: Collaborated with Cyndi Lauper, 1985.
Elton John: Dressed like Cyndi Lauper throughout much of the 1970s
and early 1980s.

The Disney connection:
Elton John: Recorded a glut of sentimental songs for Disney
soundtracks throughout the 1990s.
Billy Joel: These days, with the bald head, beard and paunch,
resembles Doc from "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs."

Tantrums and tiaras:
Billy Joel: Was married to a diva
Elton John: Was honored as a VH-1 "diva," 1999

Face To Face 2002 Setlist

National Car Rental Center - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: March 7th, 2002

Set-List: Your Song (Duet)
Just The Way You Are (Duet)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Duet)
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (EJ)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (EJ)
Philadelphia Freedom (EJ)
I Want Love (EJ)
Rocket Man (EJ)
Take Me To The Pilot (EJ)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (EJ)
Levon (EJ)
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (EJ)
I'm Still Standing (EJ)
Crocodile Rock (EJ)
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (BJ)
Allentown (BJ)
Don't Ask Me Why (BJ)
Captain Jack (BJ)
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (BJ)
Prelude/Angry Young Man (BJ)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (BJ)
The River of Dreams (BJ)
New York State of Mind (BJ)
I Go To Extremes (BJ)
Only The Good Die Young (BJ)
My Life (Duet)
Here Comes The Sun (Duet)
The Bitch Is Back (Duet)
You May Be Right (Duet)
Bennie and The Jets (Duet)
Great Balls of Fire (Duet)
Piano Man (Duet)

Face To Face 2002 Setlist

National Car Rental Center - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: March 5th, 2002

Set-List: Your Song (Duet)
Just The Way You Are (Duet)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Duet)
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (EJ)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (EJ)
Philadelphia Freedom (EJ)
I Want Love (EJ)
Rocket Man (EJ)
Take Me To The Pilot (EJ)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (EJ)
Levon (EJ)
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (EJ)
I'm Still Standing (EJ)
Crocodile Rock (EJ)
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (BJ)
Allentown (BJ)
Don't Ask Me Why (BJ)
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) (BJ)
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (BJ)
Prelude/Angry Young Man (BJ)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (BJ)
The River of Dreams (BJ)
New York State of Mind (BJ)
I Go To Extremes (BJ)
Only The Good Die Young (BJ)
My Life (Duet)
Here Comes The Sun (Duet)
The Bitch Is Back (Duet)
You May Be Right (Duet)
Bennie and The Jets (Duet)
Great Balls of Fire (Duet)
Piano Man (Duet)

Billy and Elton Break Out The Crowd-Pleasers
By: Noah Bierman
March 5th, 2002

     Billy Joel and Elton John, two piano icons with four first
names between them, delivered all the good-time nostalgia that a
greatest hits tour promises during the first of three South Florida

     The lights, the self-deprecating wit and, of course, the songs,
were all designed to please Sunday at the National Car Rental
Center, where working-stiff seats went for $85 a pop.

     Cameras were tightly focused on piano keys that loomed on large
video screens. Elton must have given the crowd at least 30 of
those "I'm-not-worthy" bows. Billy joked about his bald head and his

     These guys weren't on stage to impress themselves with
virtuosity or artistic pretention. Billy mocked his career as a
composer, playing about 30 seconds worth of his classical album.

     If sap is what the crowd wants, they'll get it. Throw in a few
rocking sing-along tunes. Hold the cigarette lighters in the air for
the thoughtful ballads (That's right. They don't do that any more.)

     Remind everyone why the "Glass Houses" album psyched them up so
much 20 years ago.

     And wouldn't it be a kick to hear Elton sing "Just The Way You
Are," the two old piano men on opposite sides of the stage?

     For the most part, they've still got it. Elton can't hit all
the high falsetto notes anymore. But like any pro, he makes up for
it with some stylish syncopation. During "Crocodile Rock," he didn't
even bother with the "nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah..." part. The
crowd filled in.

     "Rocket Man" was superb, of course, with a few green lights to
suggest a UFO invasion. Elton offered spare vocals and let the back-
up band remind you he came into this world as a rock and roll star.
And "Levon," with its searching lyrics and pounding piano solos,
demonstrated how much cooler Elton was before "Candle In The Wind"
gobbled him.

     Billy impressed with some of the old rock tunes, too - "Only
The Good Die Young" stands out - but seemed to win the day with "New
York State of Mind" and other romantic reflections on urban life.

     A Brit and an American superstar haven't charmed this well
since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton were still hitting the G-7 summit
circuit together.

     "Touring with Billy is such a gas," said Elton, decked in a
black suit with purple embroidery most of the evening. "It's like a
party. You guys are going to have a gas."

Captains of Rock Keep Pop Alive During
Their "Face 2 Face" tour in Sunrise
By: Howard Cohen
March 5th, 2002

     The Captains of rock - "Captain Fantastic" (Elton John)
and "Captain Jack" (Billy Joel) - would seem unlikely stagemates,
bound only by their choice of piano as a lead instrument and a
facility for composing enduring pop hooks.

     John, the flamboyant Brit, writes melodies and has been known
to perform sentimental songs dressed as Donald Duck; Joel, Bronx-
born and punchy, has written lyrics often laced with cynicism.
Alone, either one could sell out Sunrise's National Car Rental
Center to a populace hungry for the aural equivalent of familiar
comfort food in uncertain times. Together, the "Piano Men" have the
hottest tour on the road despite a top ticket price of
$175. "Ridiculously high prices," an often amusing Joel quipped on
stage. "I want my kid to go to Harvard."

     Sunday's opening night of the duo's "Face 2 Face" Tour sold-out
in minutes as did tonight's show. Some tickets remain for Thursday's

     Pushing past 3½ hours, the concert opened with the men at
facing pianos singing a couple of their standards, with each taking
the first verse of the song the other originated - Joel on John's
sweetly naive 1970 hit Y"our Song"; John starting Joel's supportive
1977 Valentine, "Just The Way You Are."

     The irony wasn't lost on either of the singers. The two
exchanged teasing glances at one another when an old lyric seemed
absurd all these years later.

     "Don't have much money," Joel sang in John's "Your Song," and
he couldn't help but make a face. This tour is as good as a money-
printing machine. "I said I loved you and that's forever" from "Just
The Way You Are" drew a similar reaction. Before performing the tune
Joel teased his stage partner about John's loss at the Grammy Awards
earlier in the week: "Speaking of losers, this song was written for
an ex-one," Joel said about the song he composed for the first of
his ex-wives, Elizabeth, whom he divorced in the early '80s.

     Judging by the reception greeting these two pals Sunday, John
and Joel could set up shop permanently in South Florida. Both are
from a time when looking good was secondary to having the chops to
perform. Both men were in fine, if richer, voice and the number of
classics between these two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers is
staggering. As such, it was impossible to come away from this show
and not mourn the omission of your favorite hit.

     After the three-song joint introductory set, John and his band -
- including longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel
Olsson - went on first. John favored his '70s tunes, opening with an
explosive and dramatic "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding." He
touched only briefly in the '80s for the spry and appropriate "I'm
Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" and
ignored his '90s output altogether. Two songs from John's excellent
current CD, "Songs From The West Coast" - the mature "I Want Love"
and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" - fit seamlessly in with
his classics.

     By comparison, Joel's harder rocking set had a whiff of
nostalgia surrounding it since he hasn't written a new pop song in
nine years. This didn't stop Joel from valiantly ripping through
favorites like his set opening "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant."
Yet there were some topical moments when he performed oldies
like "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)" and the
ballad, "New York State of Mind," both of which have taken on new
relevance post-September 11th, 2001. Longtime drummer Liberty
DeVitto was particularly aggressive, pushing the tempo perilously
forward and driving Joel like a boxing coach.

     Together, for the energetic closing set, the pair were sparking
each other like competitive Olympic athletes. Even a surprise
appearance from the much younger - and considerably slimmer - Ricky
Martin couldn't upstage the "Piano Men" who are now in their 50s.
Martin lept atop Joel's piano, did his trademark hip swiveling and
sang "Great Balls of Fire." More high-spirited fun was to be had
when John and Joel tore through "The Bitch Is Back" and the
swaggering "You May Be Right."

     John and Joel compliment each other well and obviously have a
blast performing together. That zest is translated to the audience.
The concert is simply fantastic.

Elton John, Billy Joel Blend Favorites With Pizzaz
By: Sean Piccoli
March 4th, 2002

     The touring exhibition that is Billy Joel and Elton John came
to South Florida on Sunday night for a weeklong stay that looks to
be a winner for everyone involved. At the first of three shows at
the National Car Rental Center, the middle-aged gentlemen of piano
rock played together and separately, drawing on huge hit repertoires
and basking in the vocal apprecation of a 20,000-strong sellout

     The "Face 2 Face" tour was not an occasion for reinvention or
extension of either man's legacy. Both led their bands and their
audiences through galleries of well-loved and comforting songs,
played to resemble the album versions as much as staging and
acoustics would allow. Sunday's show was a triumph of continuity and
reassurance, provided by two people who have survived in the pop
trade long enough to have earned their victory laps.

     Separate careers notwithstanding, the flashy Londoner and the
New York guy proved more alike than different over the course of
their sets. Here were two examples of a relatively rare species -
the piano-playing rock star - delving into songbooks that vary from
schmaltzy to brilliant. Both chose well on Sunday, selecting a mix
of hits and crowd pleasers for an audience disposed to enjoy itself,
even with tickets topping out at $175.

     They opened as a duo, taking bows and sitting down at gleaming,
bookended black pianos to share verses on three numbers: "Your Song"
and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" by John, and Joel's "Just The
Way You Are." Joel, whose voice has held up better than John's over
the decades, sounded slightly more natural stepping into the
latter's lines. John's singing on "Just The Way You Are" had a
clipped quality, with John biting down on the words. But the easy
camraderie on display here, and the utter familiarty of the tunes,
overwhelmed any shortcomings in delivery.

     John's solo set came first. He and a five-piece band showed the
most faith in John's 1970s canon, music from a golden age of rock
singer-songwriters. They opened with the "Funeral For A Friend/Love
Lies Bleeding," a rock instrumental built on raw melodic propulsion
and dynamics. John's piano rose and fell, and guitarist Davey
Johnstone stepped into the gaps with power chords and fast runs, the
whole creation steamrolling, as it does on the "Goodbye Yellow Brick
Road" album, into the rollicking "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies

     The set rolled on through "Someone Saved My Life
Tonight," "Philadelphia Freedom," "Rocket Man," and "Take Me To The
Pilot." Where John moved out of his most productive decade, he chose
carefully: "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" and "I'm
Still Standing" - two songs from an otherwise forgettable body
of '80s work. But he also offered up two numbers from his acclaimed
new album, "Songs From The West Coast." The deeply melodic and
heartfelt "I Want Love" and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
both sounded like replies to the question John must have been tired
of hearing: When are you gonna make another "Goodbye Yellow Brick

     Joel and his six-piece band opened with "Scenes From An Italian
Restaurant" and "Allentown," two songs that distinguished him
thematically from John, in their fondness for human-scale characters
and workaday problems. Where John prefers to sing broadly or in
metaphor, Joel wants his up-close New York experience to be felt.
But John's and Joel's songs are such rock standards, they tend to
lose their differences over time and simply become favorites, an
agreeable nostalgiac voice in our heads.

Face To Face 2002 Setlist

National Car Rental Center - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: March 3rd, 2002

Set-List: Your Song (Duet)
Just The Way You Are (Duet)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Duet)
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (EJ)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (EJ)
Philadelphia Freedom (EJ)
I Want Love (EJ)
Rocket Man (EJ)
Take Me To The Pilot (EJ)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (EJ)
Levon (EJ)
This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (EJ)
I'm Still Standing (EJ)
Crocodile Rock (EJ)
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (BJ)
Allentown (BJ)
Don't Ask Me Why (BJ)
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) (BJ)
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (BJ)
Prelude/Angry Young Man (BJ)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (BJ)
The River of Dreams (BJ)
New York State of Mind (BJ)
I Go To Extremes (BJ)
Only The Good Die Young (BJ)
My Life (Duet)
Here Comes The Sun (Duet)
The Bitch Is Back (Duet)
You May Be Right (Duet)
Bennie and The Jets (Duet)
Great Balls of Fire (Duet)
Piano Man (Duet)

Billy Joel & Elton John:
Never Too Old To Be Young
By: Roger Catlin

     It's a strange thing for Billy Joel, as he goes out for the
sold-out multi-night runs of the "Face 2 Face" tour with Elton John.

     "I look at myself in the mirror before I go out and
say, 'You're going to go out and do a rock-star thing? You don't
look anything like what you're supposed to look like.'"

     "I've aged like everybody else my age," he says.

     "I'm 52 years-old. My hair has thinned out. And I've thickened
out in my body," he says.

     "Then I walk out, and the crowd starts screaming, and I
think: 'Well, something's going on here.' So I don't question it too

     In fact, the "Face 2 Face" Tour has become one of the most
popular - and long-running - special-event tours in rock. Joel and
John are booked Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at Sunrise's National
Car Rental Center.

     When the duo's tour was first organized in 1994, "I wasn't sure
how long it would go," Joel says. "The agreement we had was: Let's
see how this feels and see how far we want to go; let's see how much
we want to work together. And it worked out well."

     That's an understatement for a tour that sold-out five nights
at Giants Stadium.

     "Doing it in stadiums was really absurd," he said. "I mean,
stadiums are great for football, but I think what was missing for us
was the better sounds of coliseums or arenas - as good as they can

     "I mean, I know they're still huge places. Our idea was to
eventually try to do it in 'more intimate' settings," he says with a
chuckle. "But compared to a stadium, it is more intimate."

     The appeal of the tour, in which the two stars sing separately
with their own bands for a dozen songs and then join forces for
nearly a dozen more, hasn't diminished.

     After earning $57.2 million in 31 shows last year - placing
fifth among the year's biggest tours, ahead of Madonna - the 2002
tour has had to put on extra shows in each market.

     The show has changed through the years, this time including a
salute to George Harrison and a trio of new songs from John's latest
album, "Songs From the West Coast."

     Joel, who hasn't released a pop album in nine years (the last
was the #1 "River of Dreams"), alters his set by pulling out more
obscure songs from the past.

     "Sometimes we'll give the audience a choice," he says. "We pick
some obscure songs, and depending on the audience reaction, that's
the song we'll do."

     "We did Boston. I think one song was "Vienna"
from "The Stranger" album; another was "Summer, Highland Falls"
from "Turnstiles" and "Don't Ask Me Why" from "Glass Houses."
("Don't Ask Me Why" won.)

     "I don't think the show should be all hits," says Joel, who has
racked up 33 Top 40 hits, "even though the majority of the audience
does want to be familiar with what you're playing. I think if you
just play hit, hit, hit, you're not really representing yourself -
you're not really representing the body of your work.

     "I'm not all just about Top 40 hits," he says. "I think a lot
of our reputation goes back years and years and years of having what
they called album-cuts. Songs like "Scenes From An Italian
Restaurant" and even "New York State of Mind" have not been singles.

     "But then again, you can't do too many of them, because then
you see people starting to go to the bathroom. So it's a balance."

     "New York State of Mind" is taking on a life of its own,
becoming like "Just The Way You Are" before it, an accepted standard.

     "It seems to have had longevity," Joel says. "At this point, it
does resonate, doesn't it? In light of events in New York, it took
on a whole other life as well."

     Joel sang it, with an FDNY hat on his piano, for the "America:
A Tribute To Heroes" telethon and again at "The Concert for New York
City," where he also played the obscure, strangely appropriate sci-
fi song "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)". That
song, from his 1976 Turnstiles, has become part of his current live
show as well.

     "New York State of Mind," from Joel's duet with Tony Bennett on
the latter's "Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues" is a
recent Grammy nominee.

     "That came out of left field," Joel says of the nomination. The
five-time Grammy winner appreciates the recognition. "The fact that
Tony wanted to do it and a number of other really great singers have
wanted to do this song means a lot to me," Joel says. "It's like one
of my kids went off and became successful."

     His daughter - Alexa Ray, now 16 - is planning her own career
as a singer-songwriter.

     "I want her to take her time," the proud papa says, "because
one of the worst things you can do is come out, be viewed as a pop
teen recording artist, and then never be able to be taken seriously
again when she got older.

     "So I'm trying to hold her back. I'm saying, 'Look, just keep
writing. Write, write, write; get a lot of experience in the
recording studio and in singing and working with other musicians;
and when you get to be college age and get to be in that Alicia Keys
phase, that's a good time to come out.'"

     Keys, at 21, is perhaps the best example of a contemporary pop-
based pianist, songwriter and singer.

     "She's really, really young, and she's quite poised for her
age," Joel says of Keys. "She's got a great voice, and she's
terrific at how she arranges her stuff, too. She's put together a
very good band; her sound is good."

     But, Joel adds, "I think she has a lot to live up to in terms
of how she's been critically received. Her first album is being seen
as this masterwork, and it's not there yet. She's got a lot of
potential; she's got a ton of talent. But I hope she has an
opportunity to grow."

     "I was fortunate," he adds sardonically, "in that critics made
sure I didn't peak too early."

     Of other contemporary acts, Joel says, "I like Train; I think
they're good. I like Ben Folds."

     Generally, he says "It's hard for me to keep track. I don't
follow things like I used to. I'm a kind of dial spinner in the car,
and my daughter will point out things she thinks are good. And that
gets me to listen.

     "A lot of times, I'm listening to someone on the radio, and I
have no idea. I say, 'Well, who's this?' And my daughter will
say, 'Well, that's Nelly Furtado.' And I say, 'Well, I thought a
frittata was an Italian dish.' And she says, 'Oh, no, no, she's
really, really big.'

     "Then I'll say, 'Who's this?' And she goes, 'That's Pink.'

     "I don't know who's what anymore. But there's stuff that I
like, and there's stuff I don't like. Just like always."

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