Screams echoed as two iconic musicians took Ford Center stage Thursday night. Appearing from opposite sides of the stage, Billy Joel and Elton John met in the middle to perform in their latest concert installment of the 2009-2010 Face 2 Face tour.
The original November OKC concert date was postponed after John’s hospitalization with E. coli and the flu. The crowd’s anticipation level was high, and Joel and John did not fail to impress. Although they’ve aged a bit since many of the songs were first released as singles, the pair never lost enthusiasm throughout the almost-non-stop three-and-a-half hour show.
Performing to a packed house, Joel and John sat at their dueling pianos and started the night singing a few of each other’s songs, turning hits like John’s “Your Song” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” and “My Life” into duets.
John, 62, was first to take the solo stage and opened with “Funeral for a Friend,” showing off his own live chops and the skills of his tour guitarist. Wearing purple sunglasses and a shiny black tuxedo jacket with “Stardust Kiss, Elton John” sewn into the lining, John danced around stage, exciting the crowd between songs and even signed autographs during the show. The crowd was loud for John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting),” the “la, la, las” of “Crocodile Rock” and “Rocket Man.”
While John used body language to get the crowd motivated, Joel, 60, used humor to energize audiences, first poking fun at his age and his love life before adopting a fake accent and playing a rendition of “Oklahoma!”
Choosing songs to show off the skills of every individual in his band, Joel also flexed his versatility as a musician and performer by leaving the piano to play the guitar for “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Joel also busted out some Elvis-esque moves while performing microphone-stand throwing stunts for “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” and “Only the Good Die Young.”
For the encore, John ” this time in red sunglasses and sequined tuxedo jacket emblazoned with an image of him in a flying saucer ” and his backing band joined Joel and company onstage to perform each other’s hits once again, starting with John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” and Joel’s “Uptown Girl.”
The pair picked up the tempo with John’s “The Bitch is Back” and Joel’s “I May Be Crazy,” and the encore reached a crescendo as the musicians dueled each other’s pianos during John’s “Bennie and the Jets” before a crowd that was up and dancing.
Closing the show, both performers brought it back with the ballad “Candle in the Wind” and Joel playing another rendition of “Oklahoma!” as he put on his harmonica to end with “Piano Man.”
With the crowd ecstatic and on their feet, the two eagerly took a bow, proving that Billy Joel and Elton John are every bit the men who made these songs famous and that they still deserve the title of rock legends.
photo Elton John and Billy Joel at Ford Center. photo/Shannon Cornman