Last Friday my sister and brother-in-law celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary by seeing Billy Joel perform at Wrigley Field. Of course, I had to join the celebration.
I have been a fan of Joel since the early 1970s. Although he hasn’t produced new rock music in 25 years, he remains my favorite musician. At 69, I wonder how long he will keep performing, and I am not going to miss his last Chicago show.
The Piano Man started the night with “Big Shot” and ended with “You May Be Right.” Throughout the night, Joel and the band performed 26 songs, including the four-song encore.
About halfway through the night, band member Crystal Taliefero took the mic for a rousing rendition of “Respect” in a lively tribute to the recently deceased Aretha Franklin. Over the years, I have appreciated Taliefero’s talent playing many instruments, but this was the first time I heard her do lead vocals, and she knocked it out of the park.
Near the end of the concert, guitarist Mike DelGuidice showcased his powerful voice on the opera classic “Nessun Dorma.” DelGuidice, who also fronts Big Shot, a Billy Joel cover band, has an amazing vocal range.
This was Joel’s record-setting, fifth consecutive year playing at Wrigley and seventh show there. I have attended four of these and 12 total Joel concerts.
Joel transitioned nicely over the years from an edgy, sometimes angry, performer into a polished musician without losing any of the passion. He occasionally relies on band members to help him with songs, and on a few songs, like “Piano Man,” the audience does most of the singing. Whatever the execution, “It’s still rock and roll to me.”
Happy anniversary, Scott and Jean, and thanks for letting me crash your celebration.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.
Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro in The Ivy Hotel partnered with Uncle Nearest premium whiskey to create a Preakness-inspired cocktail ahead of this weekend’s event. The Laws and Lilies libation honors the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. Emmanuel S. West, Jr., director of food & beverage, The Ivy Hotel, crafted the cocktail using Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey.