New York on Wednesday feted Billy Joel as he played a record 100th concert at Madison Square Garden, although the Piano Man himself was modest about his achievement.
“Let’s be real — I’m from New York,” the 69-year-old engine of pop favorites, donning a baseball cap, told a news conference ahead of his 100th performance at the Midtown Manhattan arena.
“This is my venue. Fortunately for me, Madison Square Garden is a world venue. You can play almost any other arena in the country and nobody else in the world is going to know about it,” he said.
“So I’m very fortunate just because of where I’m from — not to take the shine off of it.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a professed fan and friend of Joel who in 2015 officiated the singer’s fourth wedding, issued a proclamation declaring July 18 “Billy Joel Day.”
Cuomo called Joel a “quintessential New Yorker” who embodied the values of the city’s middle class.
“Forty years in this town, which is one of the toughest audiences on the globe, and after 40 years, the same tough, hometown crowd loves him,” Cuomo told the news conference.
“Why? Because there is an authenticity about Billy and his music. You can’t fool New Yorkers for 40 years,” he said.
With a stream of hits from “Uptown Girl” to “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Joel has sold more than 150 million records around the world, according to his representatives.