'Piano Man' Billy Joel Charms Target Field

July 29, 2017 09:17 AM

The two headliners of the weekend's biggest shows briefly shared the stage Friday night at Target Field. 

Billy Joel kicked off downtown Minneapolis' weekend of fun with a two and a half hour set that included Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose surprising fans with AC/DC's cover of "Highway to Hell." 


Rose belted out vocals while Joel jammed on guitar. Rose came out again during the encore to help out with "Big Shot." 

Guns N' Roses will play U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday night while Florida Georgia Line, The Backstreet Boys, and Nelly perform at Target Field on Saturday night. 

Gavin DeGraw opened for Joel with a brief 26 minute set. 

Target Field is one of eight baseball stadiums in which Joel will perform during his current tour. Things are set up nicely for the New York native, who plays Madison Square Garden once a month between his tour stops across the country.

The 68-year-old Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer took the stage wearing a suit and tie, opening with 1978's "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)."

"Every other time we've come here, we were freezing our a--es. No wonder the buildings are connected," Joel told the crowd before playing a blip of the theme song from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." He recalled his first Minneapolis show at the Marigold Ballroom in 1974. 

The warm summer night was filled with Joel's greatest hits like "Piano Man" and "Uptown Girl," mixed in with covers of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. 

"50 years ago in the summertime, The Beatles released an album called 'Sgt. Pepper.' I thought these guys were the greatest band that ever was," Joel said. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them." 

It's been 24 years since Joel released "River of Dreams," the last of his 12 studio albums.

"I can play some old songs, or I can play some new songs," Joel told fans. He stayed quiet and then laughed. "Just kidding, I don't have any new songs, it's the same old sh--!"  

Joel's setlist was peppered with "Fielder's Choices," when he let fans decide what would be played next -- options included "An Innocent Man" or "For the Longest Time," "Just the Way You Are," or "Vienna," "Big Man on Mulberry Street" -- when fans yelled, "No way!" and Joel replied, "Oh, that ain't gonna win." "Zanzibar" won that round. 

It wasn't until late in the show that Joel explained why he was holding a bright yellow fly swatter all night: "I'm not worried about getting bit, just worried about swallowing one of the little bastards."

Pretty amazing that a guy two years shy of 70 who hasn't put out an album since before the internet went big could light up Target Field, sending a crowd of close to 40,000 home with ringing ears and Joel's time-tested hooks back in their hearts. 

Set list: 

Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)


The Entertainer 

The Longest Time 


A Day in the Life (The Beatles cover) 

The Ballad of Billy the Kid


New York State of Mind

And So It Goes


Sometimes a Fantasy

Don't Ask My Why 

She's Always a Woman

My Life

Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover with Axl Rose)

We Didn't Start the Fire

The River of Dreams

Nessun dorma (Giacomo Puccini cover performed by Michael Guidice)

Scenes From an Italian Restaurant 

Piano Man


Uptown Girl

It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Big Shot (with Axl Rose)

Only the Good Die Young

You May Be Right (with Gavin DeGraw) 


Sarina Long

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