NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Joel set a record for most performances by a single artist at Madison Square Garden with his 65th show Wednesday night, besting Elton John.
The Piano Man was full of energy as he performed for a feverish crowd of all ages in New York City for more than two hours. He sang hits like “Uptown Girl,” ”We Didn’t Start the Fire,” ”It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” and “Only the Good Die Young.”
“Welcome to Madison Square Garden — the center of the universe,” he said as 20,000 fans roared.
“I didn’t know I’d be here 65 times, amazing,” Joel said. “I want to thank you very much for making this possible.”
A banner rose to the top of the stage in honor of Joel’s 65th show. Actor-comedian Kevin James came onstage to help the veteran musician celebrate.
“I am so proud and honored to be part of this historic evening,” James said. “I feel like body surfing, though we’d probably set another record for most injuries at a concert.”
The 66-year-old Joel, who was born in the Bronx, played piano for most of the night, but also rocked on the guitar and harmonica. He has been performing at MSG once a month since last year.
“I really believed a long time ago if I didn’t have a record every year on the charts, it would just go away. People would stop coming,” he said. “It’s amazing — I haven’t had a record on the charts in 22 years.”
Joel was excited throughout his performance, which featured his top notch band. At one point, he was spinning the microphone stand in the air and it landed on his face. He quickly recovered, threw the stand in the air and caught it — earning yet another standing ovation.
John, 68, previously had the MSG record with 64 performances. Joel sang John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as yellow lights beamed from the stage.
“He’s a good man and a good friend and I’d like to dedicate this song to him,” Joel said.