A family outing -- mom and dad's gift to us for no apparent reason other than my mom and dad wanted to see Billy Joel and Eddie's always wanted to see Billy Joel and my brother and I are our parents other children. So off we went!
Before getting on the train to the city, I remembered the rule I'd made quite a few years ago that my mom and I cannot go to concerts together. Why not? Why are we waiting inside? Should we go outside now? The train is coming. It's coming. We should go outside. Mom, it's cold, and the train has to pull in and stop before we get on it. We should go outside and wait. This from the woman who has spent half her life on trains and also ran up and down stairs to catch a train from a different station to get to see the Janis musical. Meanwhile, my dad and Eddie are laughing at us. Nice.
When we got to Penn, we headed up the escalator and climbed some stairs and then faced the chaos of security for which we all got on separate lines. From three rows over, I hear my mom shouting my name. I turn and see not my mom but T and N! T and I had spoken earlier in the week and found out that we were going to the same show, but there was no plan to meet up. If there'd been a plan, we wouldn't have met so easily. Instead, after the security guy accidentally got his wand stuck in my hair (for which he apologized profusely), we all met up inside under the ceiling that Eddie likes so much because it shows hockey games on it. We split up so my parents could find an elevator and then wound up on the escalators behind T and N anyway.
Finally, we got to the seats where my brother was waiting and found that the seats had tvs. Why did the seats have tvs? We turned them on and watched some sports channels while we were waiting, but why were they there in the first place? Eddie and my brother thought that maybe it was because the press people sit near there, but they can have their own tvs in the pressbox, so again, why are there tvs? This was my second trip to the new Garden, and yet again, I was finding surprises left and right.
After settling in with snacks (I was between Eddie and my dad so I was passing Peanut M&Ms back and forth), 8 PM rolled around, the lights went down a little, and then the crowd went wild! For Gavin DeGraw!!
Now none of us knew there was an opening act, but when Gavin DeGraw came out, my parents had no clue what was happening. All they knew was that the man at the piano was NOT Billy Joel. My brother knows of Gavin DeGraw, but he's not a fan.
Me and Eddie on the other hand? Well, let me just say what Eddie said to me in that moment: "I've seen Gavin DeGraw in concert more than any other singer I've seen live." And that is so true. Gavin DeGraw has opened for pretty much any concert we've been to. And so while the family sat stunned and confused, Eddie and I sang really loud and obnoxiously, swaying and clapping, rooting on our now favorite musician of all time. I kept saying to them, You might know this song! They were like, no we don't. They recognized one song he sang (you know, the one from that awful OTH show, the one everyone knows).
The lights came up, and then the lights went down. Then there was a man at the piano. And it was, finally, THE Pianoman. And it was magnificent. We all sang. We all clapped. We all swayed. We cried in different capacities when he sang Goodnight Saigon and had the FDNY on stage. He played "When I'm 64" and some other non-Billy-Joel tunes. He played some songs I've never heard of. Then he played more stuff we knew and we sang some more and then some more again.
It was a long concert that went quickly. We were beat by the end. We said goodbye to my brother and then hopped on the next train home from Penn. It was the longest train in the history of trains. Even my dad said, That train ride was so slow!, and my dad usually doesn't mind anything. Still, a long train ride home is worth every second of a Billy Joel concert. And that's why I have awesome parents.