Tuesday, August 21, 2018
  • Soundcheck

Billy Joel talks Florida, retirement, Donald Trump, Elton John, farewell tours and more

Billy Joel's last three concerts in Tampa have all drawn crowds of more than 20,000, and his sold-out show on Friday at Amalie Arena probably will, too. It's a far cry from 1974, when his first show in the city was canceled due to low ticket sales.

It's no secret why Joel remains such a draw. His success as a singer-songwriter is virtually unparalleled: 150 million records sold, 33 Top 40 hits, a shelf full of Grammys, almost every lifetime achievement award you can name. As long as there are pianos, we will have Piano Man. And Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. And Vienna. And dozens upon dozens more.

But it's now been 25 years since River of Dreams, the album Joel insisted would be his proper pop swan song. And in those 25 years, Joel has played Tampa more than he ever did back when he was still releasing new music.

Is that really how he thought retirement would go?

"No, I actually thought I wouldn't be really working at this point in my life," he said in a recent phone interview from his home in Long Island. "I thought once you got to be, I think, 50, you gotta quit rock and roll; you're too old for this thing. This is a kids' job. But these other people kept pushing the envelope. The Stones kept going, McCartney kept going, Dylan kept going. The Eagles are still going. All these bands are still rocking out, and it's, Wait a minute, so who says you gotta retire? This is what I do. I've come to understand that this is who I am. This is what I do. And it's probably keeping me alive."

For more with Billy Joel — including his thoughts on Donald Trump, his old buddy Elton John's farewell tour and his life since buying property in Florida — click here for our interview.

Comments
SoundBytes: Asher Roth, Adam Devine, Bayside, the Outlaws and more

SoundBytes: Asher Roth, Adam Devine, Bayside, the Outlaws and more

— Comic and actor Adam Devine (Workaholics, Modern Family, Pitch Perfect) is coming to the Tampa Theatre on Oct. 27, about two years after he had to cancel a gig there due to filming schedule conflicts. Tickets are $36 and up. Click here.—...
Published: 08/20/18
Travis Scott coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Travis Scott coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

And now we know when and where Travis Scott is coming to town.The hip-hop superstar announced last week that he was bringing his "Astroworld: Wish You Were Here" world tour to Tampa. Today it was announced the show will take place Nov. 12 at Amalie A...
Published: 08/20/18
Colin Jost of SNL’s ‘Weekend Update’ coming to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater

Colin Jost of SNL’s ‘Weekend Update’ coming to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater

We are positively awash this week in local tour news the stars of Saturday Night Live.On Wednesday, Chris Redd will headline a back-to-school comedy show at Orlando's CFE Arena for students at the University of Central Florida. From Friday to Sunday,...
Published: 08/20/18
Trans-Siberian Orchestra coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Trans-Siberian Orchestra coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Winter is coming. And with it, as always, comes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.The long-running rock symphony experience will return to Tampa's Amalie Arena for two shows (3 and 7:30 p.m.) on Dec. 16, according to an announcement from the organization....
Published: 08/20/18
Review: Journey, Def Leppard defy Father Time, thrill 17,500 fans at Amalie Arena in Tampa

Review: Journey, Def Leppard defy Father Time, thrill 17,500 fans at Amalie Arena in Tampa

The inevitable question a double bill like Def Leppard and Journey begs is this: Which of the two classic rock hit machines, both well into their 50s and 60s, still rocks the hardest? Stick around, we'll get there in a minute.First, though, can we ta...
Published: 08/20/18
SoundBytes: Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie, Young Nudy and more

SoundBytes: Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie, Young Nudy and more

— The always-intriguing concert calendar at Stockyard Live in Holiday has added a couple of more country veterans to the mix: Tanya Tucker on Nov. 9 ($25 and up, click here) and Joe Diffie on Nov. 10 ($18 and up, click here).— Up-and-comi...
Published: 08/17/18
Travis Scott coming to Tampa

Travis Scott coming to Tampa

Travis Scott is the man of the moment right now in hip-hop, with his latest album, the hugely anticipated Astroworld, sitting at No. 1 in the nation.Now he's about to take Astroworld on the road. And his tour will include Tampa.Scott announced cities...
Published: 08/16/18
Review: Taylor Swift lights up Tampa with majestic, open-hearted concert at Raymond James Stadium

Review: Taylor Swift lights up Tampa with majestic, open-hearted concert at Raymond James Stadium

The world's biggest pop star sat alone at a piano in Tampa, looking for the first time in a long time like she wasn't quite sure what to say."This exact day a year ago, I was not playing a sold-out stadium in Tampa," Taylor Swift told the crowd of mo...
Published: 08/15/18
SoundBytes: Hoobastank, PrettyMuch, Kevin Gates, Every Time I Die and more

SoundBytes: Hoobastank, PrettyMuch, Kevin Gates, Every Time I Die and more

— Hoobastank is coming to the Capitol Theatre. The show is scheduled for Nov. 19, with Secondhand Serenade opening. Tickets are $29 and up. Click here.— Boy band PrettyMuch is coming to the Ritz Ybor on Oct. 28. Tickets go on sale this we...
Published: 08/14/18
Highly Suspect postpone concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Highly Suspect postpone concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Highly Suspect's upcoming concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg was one of our must-see shows of this fall.We'll have to wait a little longer to see it.The Grammy-nominated rockers have postponed their Oct. 29 show in the courtyard, according to t...
Published: 08/14/18