Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

bartonmugI am about to share an embarrassing secret with you – please don’t tell anyone else!

bartonmugI am about to share an embarrassing secret with you – please don’t tell anyone else!

Until last Saturday, I had never been to a major rock concert! This is from one who was a teenager at the very beginning of the rock revolution with Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock,” and has lived through all of the major rock revolutions of our time.

The Elton John-Billy Joel Concert was announced early this year, and Jean and I immediately vowed to end our decades-long famine. When tickets went on line a couple of months ago, I battled through the frequent breakdowns of the service and remarkably short period of time they gave you to choose seats and close the deal. Finally we had two coveted tickets on the second level of the stadium. Perfect for us!

And how was it? OMG!!!!!! It ws awsm!!!!!!

Some 50,000 fans of all ages and backgrounds were packed into the Nationals Park. We faced a huge five story structure containing the stage and an incredible light system and multiple screens on which fantastic images and undulating patterns illustrating their songs were projected. The Washington Post called it “a seizure-producing effect.”

The concert began a few minutes late, when Elton and Billy Joel came on stage for the first set during which they were to play and sing duets together. However, a pedal stuck on Elton John’s piano, and he went into a hilarious hissy fit. He finally walked off the stage, and his piano disappeared on an elevator lowering it under the stage. Billy Joel’s band came on stage and he launched into his own set. The crowd went wild!

Billy Joel played for more than an hour. Then the stage went black, Billy Joel and his piano disappeared, and on walks Elton John and his entourage. We went wild! (And you haven’t seen anything until you see a crowd of 50,000 go absolutely wild.) He played and sang magically for more than an hour. Then Elton John and Billy Joel closed the concert together with another 45 minutes of great music.

They sang most of the numbers that made them famous – “Your Song,” “Just the Way We Were,” “Prelude: Angry Young Man,” “Don’t Ask Me Why,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Rocket Man,”  “Crocodile Rock,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” and “Piano Man,” which we all sang at the top of our lungs.

The Post reviewer huffily said that they sang no song written after the mid-1980s. We cared not one bit. We all had experienced one of the most spectacular musical evenings of our lives.