South O’ the Highway

Billy Joel Reveals His Wild Idea for a Farewell Tour

How much would you pay to watch The Piano Man do this?

Sag Harbor resident Billy Joel celebrated his 100th performance at Madison Square Garden (MSG) on Wednesday, July 18, maintaining the Garden’s record for most performances and most shows in a single run. His monthly residency at MSG began in January 2014 and is booked indefinitely. Each show since then has sold out, making these performances more profitable than those at the height of his career.

He has no plans of stopping any time soon, however. In an interview with Vulture, Joel confesses, “There have been times when I’ve felt these are my last shows; it’s time for me to get off the bleeding stage. Then I just thought, nah.”

He claims to have “the best job in the world,” but if he were to retire from performing in the future, he has a wild idea for how he might go about it. In it, “the stage is a living-room set: couch, TV, coffee table, food. And there’s bulletproof glass between me and the audience. Then I come out and lay down on the couch. I grab the remote and start watching TV. The crowd after a couple minutes goes, ‘F**k this,’ and starts throwing s**t at the glass,” he says.

When asked if that would be the entirety of the concert, he responds, “Yeah. I’ll have created a bond between me and the audience where I know they will never pay another nickel to see me again.”

Joel hopes to continue his rock star life for as long as he physically can. The only condition he claims would push him to retire would be if he couldn’t perform to a certain standard anymore.

He says he’s already struggling with some of the songs he wrote back in his 20s and 30s, having to have lowered some of the keys for live performances. He’d rather walk away than resort to using auto-tune again, though. “It would be abhorrent to me to be up there faking it,” he says.

Luckily, the big shot has still got it, so we don’t need to worry about his retirement quite yet. We can, however, look forward to the inevitably ridiculous reviews his farewell tour will someday receive.

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