2000 Years: The Millenium Concert (2000)

Disc One 1. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony 2. Big Shot 3. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) 4. Summer Highland Falls 5. The Ballad of Billy the Kid 6. Don't Ask Me Why 7. New York State Mind 8. I've Loved These Days 9. My Life 10.Allentown 11.Prelude/The Angry Young Man 12.Only the Good Die Young Disc Two 1. I Go to Extremes 2. Goodnight Saigon 3. We Didn't Start the Fire 4. Big Man on Mulberry Street 5. 2000 Years 6. Auld Lang Syne 7. River of Dreams 8. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant 9. Dance to the Music 10.Honky Tonk Women 11.It's Still Rock and Roll to Me 12.You May Be Right 13.This Night


It seemed a bit sad when you think about how incredible Billy Joel's live performances were, and that he never really released a proper live album. His first one, Songs in the Attic featured only older, non-hits in a new environment, and his second, the one recorded in Russia, Kohuept was more of a political travelogue. Sadly, this one doesn't quite deliver as it should either.

The important thing to remember about this particular show is that it was quite the event, I'm sure, for anyone who was there. What better place to be on New Year's Eve 2000 than at a Billy Joel show at Madison Square Garden if you're a fan and a New Yorker? The problem with this disc, is that it focuses a bit too much on the atmosphere of the evening, and not enough on the music. Yes, there is plenty of music to enjoy on this double disc, but with all the references to the new year, the new millennium and the fact that one of the tracks is actually Billy and the band playing Auld Lang Syne, well, it's a little bit like recording a Dick Clark New Year's Eve show from your television and then trying to watch it again in April. It's just not the same.

Ironically, Billy actually did a New Years Eve concert in Long Island back in 1982 that was released on HBO and later on VHS. Other than saying "Happy New Year", the rest of that show was edited to feature the actual concert. That's really what he should have done here. A lot of the in-between songs chatter is featured, which can sometimes be a good thing since Billy feels very comfortable visiting with his audience. Again, though, a lot of the chatter is about snippets concerning the actual show that doesn't really resonate many years later with the people who were not actually at the performance.

I'm sure that if you were actually there that it was fun to see Billy break into Sly and the Family Stone's Dance to the Music, and maybe you even enjoyed the fact that he paused in the middle of River of Dreams and broke into an obnoxious version of "Land of 1000 Dances" - effectively killing the enjoyment of the song. It was, after all, a party. The party of the millennium, so to speak. So I'm glad he had fun. I was just disappointed that it was so far removed from any Billy Joel show that I've ever attended. While we're complaining, please, Billy - the next time you play New York State of Mind, don't feel you have to stretch what should be the last 15 seconds of the song into what feels like a full eight minutes. I can't imagine who could possibly enjoy it when he does this.

There are so many good spots on this album. He's careful about performing his fair share of hits, but he blends in several rarities that, he says, he hadn't played since they were actually recorded. This was very nice indeed, but sadly, only made you long more for a proper show for those of us who don't live in New York.

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