We love seeing a major headliner pass through town, because we remain staunch fans of "arena rock," a term that has a slightly '70s-ish sheen but shouldn't. Why? Because a big show in a big place with hardcore fans has to be one of the funnest (yes, we said "funnest" and we meant it) things to do ever.
Speaking of hardcore fans, we went to filmmaker Dennis Przywara, who is not only famously knowledgeable about "Star Wars" but about fandom in general (in fact he even made a film about super fans). Mr. Przywara is also a committed follower of Billy Joel -- he's seen him 18 times, which is supremely awesome in our books -- so we asked him what people can expect from the big Billy Joel/Elton John show that's coming to Orange County on March 28 and 30. (While we dig the Billy, we're an Elton gal.)
1. Everyone wants to hear "Piano Man," and everyone will likely be satisfied. Same with the epic, operatic "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (we do love that ditty). Expect both those standards near the end of Billy's set. "Vienna" is chancier (Mr. P says it took 15 shows for him to hear it live for the first time).
2. Get there early. Billy Joel historically does not have an opener. Plus, he's playing with Elton. So don't dilly dally.
3. "Everyone's there," says Mr. P. Young people, their parents, their grandparents, everyone. He likes the vibe of the show, that the crowd is unified in rocking out to an old-school entertainer who appeals to several generations. We think there's a lesson there for today's up-and-coming singer-songwriters. Win over the parents who will bring the kids to the concert.
4. Billy Joel will likely play a little bit from each album, he will banter with the crowd on occasion, and there might be fan-pleasing surprises sprinkled throughout (like moving a few lucky fans closer to the stage).
And because we don't want to leave Elton John out, we just have to say that "Grey Seal" is the most upbeat, fizziest song in the history of songs, and to hear that once live would be the fulfillment of a dream. We're just saying, Mr. John. Just a suggestion.