Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden on CBS

Billy Joel performing at THE 66TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS. Photo Credit: CBS

Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden is a celebration of Joel’s 100th concert in his historic run at the iconic arena. Because of The Masters and 60 Minutes having to air in its entirety, the special will not begin until 9:31 PM ET on the east coast.

UPDATE: A special encore of Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden will air April 19  at 9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT. A network programming timing error is why the concert two minutes early for Eastern and Central Time viewers. Fans were upset at CBS last night and rightfully so. In a statement, the network apologized to Mr. Joel, his fans, CBS Network affiliates, and the audience whose viewing experience was interrupted during “Piano Man.” Because of the overwhelming demand, they are airing an encore in its entirety. It is doubtful that we will ever get a version with the missing songs.

The concert special–airing this evening on CBS–was taped during Joel’s record-breaking 100th consecutive performance at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2024. Making surprise appearances are the concert are Sting and the great Jerry Seinfeld. Sting performs with Joel on a few songs, including “Big Man on Mulberry Street” and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Seinfeld, who also has an upcoming film premiering on Netflix, helps in raising the historic banner commemorating Joel’s unprecedented run. It marks the first broadcast concert special for the Piano Man.

Dating back to Joel’s first Madison Square Garden concert on December 14, 1978 through his final MSG show this upcoming July, every single concert has sold out. He’s also sold out more MSG concerts than any other artist in history.

Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden is a co-production of Sony Music Entertainment and Enliven Entertainment. Steve Cohen, Barry Ehrmann and Paul Dugdale are executive producers. Directed by Emmy Award recipient Paul Dugdale. Sony Music Vision is the distributor.

I’ll be publishing the set list and other thoughts throughout the broadcast. We know from the CBS press release that “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man” are on the set list.

CBS Presents Billy Joel: The 100th - Live at Madison Square Garden.
CBS Presents Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden. ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jerry Seinfeld was asked to come on stage following the performance of “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).” As previously announced, Seinfeld helped in commemorating the record-breaking 100th concert at Madison Square Garden.

Sting is tonight’s guest performer, joining Joel starting with “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” After double checking the recording on my DVR after the concert, it turns out that they did cut “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” from the broadcast. I just assumed they were airing both songs in Sting’s set with Billy Joel.

I wouldn’t mind the interstitials if they didn’t take away so much from the concert. Given that this is a CBS special, it’s probably a good hour and a half without commercials. There is no way that a Billy Joel concert is 90 minutes long. “Piano Man” was the last song before the encore during the taping. However, we’re getting songs from the encore before “Piano Man.” Just like that, it’s right back to the main pre-encore songs! Meanwhile, “You May Be Right” is the encore finale but there’s enough room here for another song after a commercial break. There it is–“Piano Man.” I  certainly can’t help but wonder if there will be an unedited version of the concert in the future. Maybe a physical media release or even a live album. Time will probably tell in that regard.

Billy Joel is a legend so I’ll relish the opportunity to watch him in a TV concert special. The only reason that I’m not giving this a full 5/5 is because of cutting at least 11 songs from the concert. CBS could have added an hour and broadcast the full concert rather than give home audiences an abbreviated version. All in all, Billy Joel: The 100th is missing something by airing the concert out of order and dropping many songs altogether. Leaving out 11 songs–including “The Longest Time,” “The Entertainer,” “Don’t Ask Me Why,” “Allentown,” and three encore tunes (“We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Uptown Girl” and “Big Shot”)–is unfair to home viewers but it just makes attending the concerts in person all the more special. Even more frustrating–at least in my local market–the local news cut the end of the concert to air the late local news.

Billy Joel: The 100th Set List

  1. Miami 2017 (I’ve Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
  2. Ode to Joy/My Life
  3. Vienna
  4. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  5. New York State of Mind
  6. Big Man on Mulberry Street
  7. An Innocent Man
  8. Turn the Lights Back On
  9. The River of Dreams (with River Deep, Mountain High interlude sung by Crystal Taliefero)
  10. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
  11. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
  12. Only the Good Die Young
  13. You May Be Right (interlude of Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin)
  14. Piano Man
Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden will air April 14, 2024 at 9:00-11:00 PM ET/ PT on CBS and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.