Billy Joel band alumni reunite at Clearwater block party
Talk about Big Shots: The Lords of 52nd Street are coming to the free Blast Friday party in downtown Clearwater on March 31, and this is just not a Billy Joel tribute band. These are the original musicians who backed up the Piano Man from 1976 to 1981. And they’re still playing their own parts on the songs that they originally recorded.
That’s Richie Cannata playing sax on New York State of Mind and Liberty DeVitto on drums and guitarist Russell Javors from four of Bily Joel’s best albums. They may be crazy, but this just may be what lunatic Billy Joel fans are looking for.
The charismatic musicians served as a unit, along with bassist Doug Stegmeyer who died in 1995. They played on Turnstiles in 1976 through The Bridge in 1986 -- the era that produced the bulk of Joel's biggest hits.
They hadn't played together since 1989, when Javors and Stegmeyer left the band. But in 2014, when they were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame the chemistry was palpable, and they got the old band back together. The Lords of 52nd Street is the nickname given to the band by the late great Phil Ramone, who produced a string of critically acclaimed albums with Joel in the 1970s and '80s.
Their tour brings them to Clearwater March 31 for a free show at Blast Friday. The family-friendly food and craft festival is held the last Friday of each month featuring a free live concert and a beer garden from 5:30-10 p.m. at the 400 Block of Cleveland Street, Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, Clearwater.
Other concerts in the blast Friday lineup include:
Jan. 27: Spyro Gyra: 5:30-10 p.m. Friday.
Feb. 24: John Waite
April 28: The Fabulous Thunderbirds
May 26: Tampa Bay favorites Greg Billings Band and The Black HonkeysContact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @SharonKWn.