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 styleSee more details below

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.

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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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2006
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0828768517628
catalogNumber:
685176
Rank:
2863

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Angry Young Man
  2. My Life
  3. Everybody Loves You Now
  4. The Ballad of Billy the Kid
  5. The Entertainer
  6. Vienna
  7. New York State of Mind
  8. The Night Is Still Young
  9. Zanzibar
  10. Miami 2017 (I've Seen the Lights Go out on Broadway)
  11. The Great Wall of China
  12. Allentown
  13. She's Right on Time
  14. Don't Ask Me Why
  15. Laura
  16. A Room of Our Own

Disc 2

  1. Goodnight Saigon
  2. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
  3. An Innocent Man
  4. The Downeaster "Alexa"
  5. She's Always a Woman
  6. Keeping the Faith
  7. The River of Dreams
  8. A Matter of Trust
  9. We Didn't Start the Fire
  10. Big Shot
  11. You May Be Right
  12. Only the Good Die Young
  13. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
  14. Piano Man
  15. And So It Goes
  16. It's Still Rock & Roll To Me

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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
Mark Wilder   Mastering
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

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