They were all in a mood for a melody, and he got the feeling alright.
On Friday night, the Bryce Jordan Center filled with people eager to hear a legend sing the soundtrack of five decades and Billy Joel didn’t disappoint.
When he first appeared on stage, in a puddle of blue light, seated at the keyboard, he was every inch the piano man. And then he remembered he was a rockstar.
The evening rollicked back and forth like Joel’s career, switching from ballads like “Vienna” to anthems like “Allentown,” hard and soft, up and down, punctuated by the singer’s pithy commentary.
He told the crowd that there was a time when he toured the area regularly, in rental cars, riding to Johnstown, Altoona and Huntingdon.
For fans like Chelle and Brian Kelly, of Philadelphia, it was one of those bucket list concerts, must sees by favorite artists.
“My song!” Said Brian as “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” began to play.
The two celebrated their eighth anniversary with the tickets.
The audience celebrated every moment of Joel’s music. When the end seemed to come with his rendition of his signature “Piano Man,” it was bittersweet. When he came back for an encore set that started with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and ended with “Only the Good Die Young,” it brought everyone to their feet, from the Lehigh Valley couple that chose State College over Madison Square Garden to take it in to the college students born more than halfway through his recording history.
He talked often about getting older, losing his hair, catching his breath. But for the Penn State crowd, none of it mattered. He is still rock and roll to them.