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12 Gardens Live
     

12 Gardens Live

4.7 8
by Billy Joel
 
Culled from his record-breaking 12-show run at Madison Square Garden, 12 Gardens Live shows Billy Joel hasn't lost a step as one of music's more accomplished live performers. Everything you'd expect from a Billy Joel concert is here: boatloads of familiar hits, songs chock-a-block with references to New York City, and an inimitable and infectious piano style

Overview

Culled from his record-breaking 12-show run at Madison Square Garden, 12 Gardens Live shows Billy Joel hasn't lost a step as one of music's more accomplished live performers. Everything you'd expect from a Billy Joel concert is here: boatloads of familiar hits, songs chock-a-block with references to New York City, and an inimitable and infectious piano style that's arguably rivaled only by Elton John. The set is peppered with long-loved favorites, like the '50s-influenced "Keeping the Faith," the strutting "Big Shot," and Joel's personal anthem, "Piano Man," complete with the crowd singing entire verses. And while only Joel knows whether his decision to personally curate his 2005 box set, My Lives, inspired him to insert more obscure fare into the set lists for this 2006 tour, the results reveal yet another side to this pop songsmith. The addition of clavinet on "She's Right On Time" hints at Joel's classical music aspirations, while "Zanzibar" has a Steely Dan-reminiscent combination of storytelling and jazz nuance. 12 Gardens Live is a must-have concert souvenir for Joel fans, whether they were lucky enough to be at the Garden shows or not.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
To promote his 2005 box set My Lives, Billy Joel held a series of concerts at Madison Square Garden at the end of the year -- highlights of which are collected on the 32-track, two-CD set 12 Gardens Live. If 2000's double-live 2000 Years: The Millennium Concert seemed bloated and aimless, the work of an old pro going through the motions, 12 Gardens Live is its polar opposite, showcasing a veteran who is thoroughly engaged with his music. Not that this album is all that different in form or sound than 2000 Years: he still works with a big nine-piece band, with many of the same musicians, and he doesn't reinterpret any of these tunes, so it doesn't offer any surprises -- at least on the surface. But there is one big surprise on the album: Billy Joel hasn't sounded this lively or committed in years, since at least his early-'80s heyday. He sounds as if he believes in these songs again, putting real energy into his performances; he's savvy enough to not reach for notes that he can no longer hit, and to know when to punch up choruses for maximum effect. It's not so much that he's having fun with these songs but that he's singing them with passion, which makes 12 Gardens Live an unexpectedly compelling and entertaining listen. It also helps that the song selection is excellent, downplaying anything released after An Innocent Man -- "The Night Is Still Young," "The Great Wall of China," "The Downeaster 'Alexa'," "The River of Dreams," "A Matter of Trust," "We Didn't Start the Fire," and "And So It Goes" are the only tunes from 1986-1993, leaving 24 songs from his classic period -- and emphasizing album tracks: for instance, over half of The Nylon Curtain is here, and the single "Pressure" is not one of the featured songs. Some of these are staples -- "Angry Young Man," "The Ballad of Billy the Kid," and "Miami 2017 (I've Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" are often featured in his shows -- but it's a nice to have "Everybody Loves You Now," "Vienna," "Zanzibar," and "A Room of Our Own" (one of two unlisted bonus tracks) here, since they not only sound good, they illustrate the depth of his catalog. This strong song selection along with the strong performances turns 12 Gardens Live into a treat for long-time Billy Joel fans, particularly those who haven't enjoyed much of what he's done since An Innocent Man. Since it's not an album of new songs, it's hard to call this a comeback, but it certainly is his most enjoyable album in 20 years.
New York Post
Captures Joel at the peak of his powers.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2006
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0828768517628
catalogNumber:
685176
Rank:
6056

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Billy Joel   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Vocals
Chuck Burgi   Drums
Tommy Byrnes   Guitar,Vocals
Richie Cannata   Saxophone
Mark Rivera   Flute,Guitar,Keyboards,Saxophone,Vocals
David Rosenthal   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Crystal Taliefero   Guitar,Percussion,Saxophone,Vocals
Carl Fischer   Trombone,Trumpet

Technical Credits

Billy Joel   Composer,Producer
Tommy Byrnes   Music Direction
Steve Lillywhite   Producer
Brian Ruggles   Engineer,Live Sound
Christopher Austopchuk   Art Direction
Jeff Chonis   Drum Technician
Craig Robertson   Live Sound
Nyle Wood   Live Sound
Dan Ichimoto   Art Direction
Steve Barri Cohen   Lighting Director
Joel Singer   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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12 Gardens Live 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is amazing. The sound is great and the it's great to hear live versions if such deep album tracks such as Laura, Room of Our Own and Zanibar. Amazing
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Simply amazing. No hyperbole. No understatement. Spot-on amazing. It is as if Billy recognized that his true fans has seen him enough to have witnessed the catalogue of hits at least twice-over in person. So he's packaged a live album (finally one with superior sound quality)with rarities and deep album cuts. Talk about your "songs in the attic". To hear "Laura" and "She's Right on Time" is treat enough, but concert-versions of the absolutely soul-scorching "The Night is Still Young" and the grudge anthem "The Great Wall of China" ignite this amalgam of cuts from Billy's historic 12 night sell-out run at the Garden. Find the standards. Find the hits. Then dig deeper. If you can't find at least a half a dozen you've never heard live than you are a true afficionado. If so, you'll appreciate the choices. If not, you'll find brand new reasons to appreciate just what Billy has brought to music. This is the Christmas/birthday/anniversary/just-because gift you've waited for....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Joel's decision to cut out some of his hits and play a wider variety of songs during his current tour makes this CD truly special. For hard-core fans, this is the show they've been waiting for - stuff Billy hasn't performed in more than two decades, if ever. For the casual fans who are basically familiar with his hits, this CD will make them a hard-core fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Joel was awsome and still is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm extremely thrilled that Billy Joel decided to include a live version of "She's A ways a Woman" on this album, a song that is, in my opinion, the best Billy Joel ever wrote. For that song alone, the album is certainly worth buying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
when i heard that billy joel was releasing a cd of his msg concerts, i was thrilled. i love the more obscure songs on here, such as "zanzibar", "everybody loves you now", and "she's right on time". i also loved the arrangements of his hits on this cd, and they seemed to take on a new life in these concerts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago