NEW YORK — He’s as much of an icon of New York City as the venue in which he’s played once a month on average for the past decade, but now Billy Joel’s residency at Madison Square Garden is ending.
MSG and the rock and pop music legend announced the news at an event at The World’s Most Famous Arena on Thursday morning.
The event organizers made clear that Joel would not respond to questions, but his eyes spoke volumes about his emotions related to the finality of the announcement.
During the news conference, Billy Joel wiped his moist eyes multiple times as Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan made the official announcement.
“Billy’s residency at the Garden will end with his 150th-lifetime show,” Dolan said from the podium, “which is slated for July 2024.”
It will be the end of a remarkable sold-out run. The Piano Man has broken records for most consecutive performances by any artist — 90 of them, as well as most lifetime performances at a venue, 136.
As Dolan’s announcement made clear, that latter record will get broken.
“The first of the final ten residency shows will be on Friday, Oct. 20,” he said.
In other words, “You May Be Right,” as one of his hit songs says, if you think you still have time to see Joel in residency. However, because the residency’s days are numbered, there is “Pressure” to get tickets soon, so “This Is the Time” before Joel is “Movin’ Out.”
With a songbook of 121 tunes, the references to Billy Joel titles feels as limitless as his residency seemed to be.
However, Joel himself said at the news conference that it seems appropriate to bring a good thing to an end.
“Ten years, 150 shows,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said, “All right, already.”
It was one of quite a few moments in his relatively short comments at the podium where Billy Joel showed characteristic “Honesty” — the references in this story are almost through — he admitted at the event that he’d lost his farewell script. So instead, he just commented off the cuff.
“We’re here to hype the next 10 shows,” he said. “It’s a promotion.”
“I’m now 74. I’ll be 75 next year,” he continued. “It seems like a nice number to just, okay…” he said, his voice trailing off.
Also on hand at the event was New York Rangers veteran and future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist, who paid tribute to Joel and Mayor Eric Adams.
The city’s chief executive said that a Billy Joel song is part of his daily routine each morning.
“I place on earphones,” he said, turning to Joel, “and I play ‘New York State of Mind.'”
In his closing remarks, Joel said he marveled at how closely he’d become associated with MSG.
“If you Google somebody’s house, if you Google ‘Billy Joel’s House,'” he said, “they show Madison Square Garden. Which is kind of cool.”
However, in reality, the Google search he mentioned shows his mansion and estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Last month, he put it up for sale.
He said he intends to spend more time with his family on their estate in Florida. However, he added, “I’m not leaving New York.”
Billy Joel’s next MSG concert is on June 2.