12 December 2008

Billy Joel in Concert

After trying unsuccessfully to concentrate on work through the morning, I left work at lunchtime. Scott wasn't far behind me.....

Scott got toffed up....

I got toffed up....

We got in the car & hit the road.

About 40 km and a whole lotta rush hour traffic later & we finally arrived at Olympic Park. One of these fine days we'll head down there and explore the whole of the park. It's spectacular! Although a bit deserted. But that's for another day!

Part of the "Platinum/Total Experience" package for Billy Joel was pre-paid parking in the parking lot right next to the Acer Arena. By the time we got there, it was already getting full - just after 6pm.

We headed inside with our tickets in hand and camera hidden in my handbag. We thought we'd take a chance and take the good camera with us instead of trying to take crappy photos on a cellphone. No-one was even checking for recording equipment! Bonus!!!!! We took our Total Experience letter to the Total Experience desk & each collected a Billy Joel carrier bag with a tour brochure inside.

Next up was the memorabilia stand.....

The front & back of Mandy's t-shirt

The back & front of Scott's t-shirt

Then it was upstairs to one of the many function rooms for our pre-show "thing". We showed our tickets at the door and were given our VIP lanyards to gain access to the function room before & after the show.

VIP lanyard

Our show tickets & the inside cover of the tour brochure. This page caught my eye before we went into the Arena: "Im not one of those acts with a lot of special effects. We just go up and do the music."

So the pre-show do consisted of some tables & chairs - those high tables with high bar stools - and some couches and low tables. There were waiting staff at the door with trays of drinks and others roaming around with trays of gourmet snacky things. A couple of musos were jammin' away on a small stage up front. As we walked in, a lady sitting on her own caught our eye and invited us to join her at her table. Her name was Lynn and she was there on her own. When the tickets went on sale, her husband didn't want to go. Neither did her 3 children (all in their 20's). So she bought her Total Experience ticket and went on her own. So we sat and chatted to her over a few glasses of bubbly (hey! it was a special occassion!).

At about 7.45pm we were told we needed to go inside and take our seats...... 5th Row!!!!! Wooooohooooo!!!!!!

The Birthday Boy with his VIP card in his 5th row seat in Acer Arena!

We didn't have long to wait. Billy Joel arrived on stage at 8.15pm - no support act to suffer through - just the man himself! WOW!!!! WOW!!!! WOW!!!!

Words just cannot explain how incredible this show was! I was introduced to Billy Joel by my mom who's loved his music since I can remember. One of my happiest childhood memories was of driving down to Rooi Els in my mom's little Mini along that coast road after Gordon's Bay with Billy Joel's music playing on the tape deck (on one of those slide out anti-theft brackets bolted to the dash!). The Stanger and 52nd Street. *sigh* Good times.....

And here we were, sitting in the 5th row of Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia watching Billy Joel singing all the hits..... I cannot even begin to describe the emotions! I'm not even going to try. Here are some of the pics we took and at the end you'll find a video which I put together of the snippets I took during the show. Enjoy!

New York State of Mind and I had tears running down my face. WOW!!!

LOVING the show!!!

Birthday Boy LOVING the show!!!

This was Ricky "Chainsaw"LaPointe - one of the guitar roadies who came on stage and blasted out AC/DC's Highway to Hell. Brilliant!!!! And with Billy playing lead guitar as well. The crowd went nuts 'cos AC/DC is an Aussie band.

Acer Arena makes the Velodrome in Bellville look stupid! And the accoustics.... *sigh* Absolutely mindblowing! The sound was crystal clear. They apparently had recording studio accoustic people come and design the interior of the Arena. Gav, you'd LOVE this venue, mate!!!

A new song that he wrote last year and was performed by Cass Dillon called Christmas in Fallujah. A war protest song. Quite heavy rock - you can see it performed in full on YouTube here.

It's Still Rock & Roll To Me

And he finished of with Piano Man. It couldn't have ended on a higher note!

If you can't see the video above, then you can go to YouTube and see it. Click here to go there.

My highlights of the show..... New York State of Mind. Only The Good Die Young was INCREDIBLE - I completely forgot about the camera on that one. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant was amazing. Scott says his highlight was Piano Man. It was awesome with the whole crowd singing along - an impressive set of backup vocalists!

After the show we went back to the function room for some fruit, cheese, biscuits & choccies. The musos were doing their thing again - having some fun with the songs that Billy didn't do in the concert. We didn't stay too long. They did a draw for a new Acer laptop but it wasn't our lucky night!

Scott with his goodie bag outside Acer Arena

Olympic Boulevard looking towards the ANZ Stadium (formerly Australia Stadium, formerly Telstra Stadium - don't you just hate how sponsors want the stadiums named after them?!). The blue lit towers each represent one of the cities where the modern Olympic games have been held. It's quite spectacular but as I mentioned before, we'll head out there and explore a bit more.

Me on Olympic Boulevard outside Acer Arena.


laura75 said...


Mamajoon said...

I remember the days well - I daringly swerved the car from side to side in rhythm with the music! I know you enjoyed it for both of us - what an experience!

Mamajoon said...

Just watched your video - what a pity you didn't get ALL of Piano Man in! It sounded fantastic with the audience singing with him. Ah me, still green.........Mom

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you really had fantastic birthdays. Now we have all enjoyed them too. Congrats to you both.