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Review: Billy Joel and Sting light up crowd at wet San Diego concert

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Review: Billy Joel and Sting light up crowd at wet San Diego concert
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Take a bow, mom nature!

Because of some uncharacteristically moist April climate throughout Billy Joel’s sold-out live performance with Sting at Petco Park on Saturday night time, pop-music’s famed piano man has achieved an elite — if not totally coveted — distinction. He now joins the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis and Tony Bennett on the very brief record of legendary musicians whose open-air San Diego live shows noticed them forge forward in a noble quest to reign within the rain.

Fortunately, no precipitation marred Sting’s very good, 83-minute opening set, which included a propulsive model of his funk-fueled 1993 romp, “Heavy Cloud No Rain.” Alas, the track features a couplet that proved all too prescient Saturday night time on the downtown ball park: The clouds gained’t go until their work is finished / Each morning you’ll hear me pray / If solely it might rain at this time.

The clouds began their work at 9:10 p.m., halfway by “Movin’ Out,” the second choice by Joel and his brassy, one-woman, seven-man band. The sunshine however regular rain continued by his subsequent seven numbers, which included “Vienna,” “An Harmless Man,” “Don’t Ask Me Why,” a truncated model of the Rolling Stones’ “Begin Me Up,” and the jazzy, finger-snapping “Large Man on Mulberry Avenue,” which featured Joel buying and selling vocal strains with an umbrella-twirling Sting.

“Carry your raincoat!” Joel quipped as Sting strolled on to the large stage, which stretched throughout a lot of Petco Park’s proper and middle fields.

Many followers wore rain gear to Saturday’s sold-out Billy Joel and Sting live performance at Petco Park. Few attendees appeared deterred by the moist climate.

(Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Earlier than “Begin Me Up,” Joel instructed the viewers: “Don’t get all excited; I ain’t Mick Jagger.” Certainly, at 74, Joel is six years youthful than the hyper-kinetic, age-defying Jagger (The Rolling Stones, by the way, had been the primary rock act to carry out on the then-new Petco Park in 2005, a 12 months after it opened.)

When “Begin Me Up” concluded, Joel and his well-drilled band playfully broke into a couple of verses of the 1964 Riveras’ chestnut, “California Solar,” which was memorably lined in 1977 by the Ramones. Raindrops had been seen on components of his grand piano, however Joel was undaunted.

“We’re from New York — that is nothing!” he instructed the cheering crowd. Even so, Joel’s stage apparel was topped off with a black zip-up jacket, a cap and a wool scarf. The drizzle was fixed sufficient that a number of of this reporter’s pens stopped working due to how moist the pages in my pocket book had grow to be.

The rain abated — for some time — shortly after Joel launched into his ninth choice, “New York State of Thoughts,” his signature track and one of many highlights of his set.

Despite the wet weather, Billy Joel was in good spirits at Petco Park

Regardless of the moist climate, Billy Joel was in good spirits at his Petco Park live performance on Saturday night time.

(Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The air was alternately dry and moist for the 13 numbers that adopted in Joel’s live performance. It culminated with 5 sure-thing encore numbers — “We Didn’t Begin the Hearth,” “Uptown Woman,” “It’s Nonetheless Rock and’ Roll To Me,” “Large Shot” and “You Could also be Proper,” which included a charged snippet of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 traditional, “Rock and Roll,” sung by Joel band guitarist Mike DelGuidice.

The present ended at 10:55 p.m., 5 minutes earlier than Petco Park’s curfew. It was Joel’s second look on the stadium, the place he delivered a memorable, 26-song efficiency in 2016 to a sold-out crowd.

Then, as on Saturday, Joel’s grand piano periodically rotated on the stage to afford the viewers on both facet of the packed stadium a greater vantage level. Saturday’s live performance was shorter by 5 songs than in 2016. What additionally differed is Joel’s singing voice, which has misplaced a few of its vary and affect.

He acknowledged as a lot when introducing “An Harmless Man,” the title monitor of his 1983 album. “I didn’t notice once I recorded this that I used to be saying goodbye to loads of my excessive notes,” Joel stated. “If I hit loads of flat notes, you’re allowed to groan.”

He was completely engaged and his singing was heat and resonant on successful renditions of “Vienna,” “Solely the Good Die Younger,” “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and “Piano Man.” And his keyboard work was not often lower than glowing. However on different numbers, he repeatedly strained to hit notes, regardless of singing them in decrease keys than they had been initially recorded.

Sting performs in concert at Petco Park on Saturday, April 13, 2024 in San Diego, CA.

4 massive video screens supplied concertgoers with up-close photographs at Saturday’s Billy Joel and Prince live performance at Petco Park.

(Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

After all, the rain and funky night time air might have been components for the veteran troubadour, who tonight at 9 will be featured on the CBS TV live performance particular, “Billy Joel: The one centesimal — Reside at Madison Sq. Backyard.”

However indoors or out, his crowd-pleasing Petco Park live performance was marred by inconsistent pacing, no extra in order that when “The River of Goals” segued into Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain Excessive” — a superb, however not nice, showcase for singer and multi-instrumentalist Crystal Talifero. This was adopted by guitarist DelGuidice’s vocal rendition of the storied Puccini opera aria, “Nessun dorma” — which interprets as “No one’s Sleeping” — because the lead-in to “Piano Man.”

Say, what? Even when this was meant as an inside joke, clearly no one was sleeping on such a moist, cool night. And the enthusiastic viewers, which sang alongside and danced en masse, left little question of its devotion to Joel and the songs that many attendees grew up listening to.

Pacing and vocal energy had been no drawback for Sting, whose 16-song opening set was a grasp class in the best way to construction, stability and ship a live performance that soared from begin (a spirited duet with Joel on “Each Little Factor She Does is Magic”) to complete (“Each Breath You Take,” probably essentially the most memorable rock track ever about stalking).

Sting, who carried out with equal elan in October at his SDSU live performance right here, was in glorious voice all through Saturday. Regardless of what number of occasions he has beforehand sung “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle,” So Lonely” and “If You Love Any individual Set Them Free,” he made every sound splendidly contemporary and important. Sting’s songs are sturdy and versatile, enabling him to change their keys, time signatures and preparations in a fashion that concurrently saluted and prolonged them.

His exemplary bass enjoying was, likewise, a marvel of style, concision and musicality that added welcome dimension to the songs at hand. He was matched, word for word, by his very proficient, one-woman, five-man band. It included Ben Butler, very ably subbing for longtime Sting guitarist Dominic Miller (who’s now launched into a solo tour in Europe).

Sting constantly injected contemporary vigor into such favorites as “Message in a Bottle,” Model New Day,” “Fields of Gold,” and “King of Ache,” including welcome new twists whereas remaining true to every track’s essence. Quite than rush by songs, he prolonged a lot of them — together with “Strolling on the Moon,” which lasted 12 minutes however was not a second too lengthy — the higher to construct dynamic stress and launch.

Sting performs at Petco Park on Saturday, April 13, 2024 in San Diego, CA.

Sting’s bass enjoying at his Saturday Petco Park live performance was each bit as memorable as his evocative singing.

(Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

No stranger to stadium live shows, Sting commanded the stage with an inviting mixture of authority, wit and good-natured bonhomie. Much more in order that Joel, he repeatedly engaged the viewers in spirited, call-and-response vocal exchanges. Sting additionally delivered a couple of well-timed asides. (Introducing The Police’s 1981 gem, “Spirits within the Materials World,” he deadpanned: “I can guarantee you it’s not a Madonna track,” a wry allusion to her 1984 hit, “Materials Woman.”)

After the harmonica-led “Model New Day,” Sting commented on the inclement climate, saying: “Man, it’s chilly! I come from England, the place it’s (now) sunny and heat. You’ll be able to’t belief the climate anymore, which is what this subsequent track is about.” He and his band then delivered an expertly calibrated model of “Heavy Climate No Rain,” throughout which he ad-libbed some additional lyrics: “You’re in San Diego — my ship simply got here in!”

Sting properly let his music communicate for itself, most notably on “Desert Rose.” Its snaking, Arabic-inspired melody appeared all of the extra poignant at a time when, sadly, warfare is once more rife within the Center East.

At 72, Sting stays an arresting musical power. The bar he set for Joel to comply with Saturday was, finally, a bridge too far — though that will replicate the actual fact Sting excursions consistently, whereas Joel presently averages simply two live shows a month. Both means, on Saturday neither of them let the rain dampen their musical parade.

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