CD Review: Billy Joel


Billy Joel
12 Gardens Live
Columbia
By David Chiu

Unlike several of Billy Joel’s previous live albums, 12 Gardens has the distinction of featuring at least one track from each of the Piano Man’s studio works from Cold Spring Harbor to River of Dreams. Recorded earlier this year during Joel’s string of sold-out concert dates at Madison Square Garden, this 2-CD is essentially ‘Greatest Hits Live’: the usual standbys are here such as “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” New York State of Mind,” “Allentown,” “Goodnight Saigon,” “My Life,” We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and “Movin’ Out.” While that’s nothing new, Joel fortunately unearths songs that don’t get much airplay and strictly fans-only like “Everybody Loves You Now,” “Laura,” “She’s Right On Time,” and surprisingly, the soulful “The Night Is Still Young.” Even if his voice has sound a little deeper at his age, Joel can still kick and the performances are fine. 12 Gardens is more like a souvenir for those were at the shows but it prolongs the possibility, if any, of new material ever coming from Joel.

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