Billy Joel And Stevie Nicks Delight On Stage Together In Chicago

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“Good evening, Chicago. My kind of town!” exclaimed Billy Joel on stage Friday night at Soldier Field, setting up an appropriate cover of the Frank Sinatra staple. “This is our last gig playing with Stevie Nicks for now. It’s been a real pleasure working with her,” he said later, noting the duo’s second and final scheduled performance together of 2024. “Thank you, Stevie!”

Joel made his way to the stage early Friday, taking on the Tom Petty lead vocal alongside Nicks on the duo’s iconic 1981 single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” early in her opening performance.

Set to wrap up his monthly Madison Square Garden residency on July 25, 2024 in New York City, Joel will head to the U.K. for a stop in Cardiff, Wales on August 9 ahead of a run of fall dates through America set to kick off September 13 in Cleveland, Ohio, with Nicks scheduled to launch a European tour of her own July 3 in Dublin, Ireland.

As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Joel has sold in excess of 150 million albums globally, with Nicks tacking on another 65 million of her own, including the diamond-certified, 21 times platinum Fleetwood Mac opus Rumours, still one of the ten best selling albums ever, rendering Friday night’s rare pairing a can’t miss concert event.

“Thank you so much. Welcome, everybody!” said Nicks, taking the stage Friday afternoon in the Windy City. “We’re so excited to be here – we love Chicago. We’ve been here a couple of days so let’s get this great Chicago party started!”

Following Pennsylvania and Michigan concerts that were recently postponed due to illness, Nicks made her return to the stage Friday backed by a terrific eight piece group, ripping straight into “Outside the Rain” at the top of her set.

While she referenced having vocal issues a few times on stage in Chicago, Nicks, 76, nevertheless remained in fine voice over the course of 90 minutes.

“When Christine passed, it was a very difficult time,” observed Nicks Friday night, referencing the 2022 death of Fleetwood Mac bandmate and friend Christine McVie. “My mother always said, ‘Stevie, when things get rough, you run to the stage.’ Well, I’ve been running to the stage for two years now.”

Photos of McVie ran on screen as Nicks wrapped with “Landslide.” “And I’m getting older too,” she sang during one of the evening’s most poignant moments.

Led by longtime guitarist Waddy Wachtel, Nicks and company put their spin upon Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” while revisiting Nicks’ most celebrated Fleetwood Mac, solo and duet moments.

“I’d like to say that it’s been an amazing journey that Billy has brought me on,” said Nicks following the Petty performance. “Feisty, New Yorker,” she joked, referencing Joel. “You’re a feisty New Yorker too,” she continued, nodding at Wachtel. “This one is about a gypsy – which is of course me,” she continued, revisiting Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 studio effort Mirage.

While the one-two punch of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” brought the crowd to their feet Friday night during Nicks’ encore, it was her’ own “Stand Back” that stole the show midway through, with Wachtel shifting to a scorching slide guitar.

“Look at all the f–ing people here!” Joel exclaimed, following the group’s take on “My Life,” fly swatter in hand as he opened the set. “I used to climb on this thing and do flips off of it – but I’m getting a little long in the tooth for that,” he said with a smile, sitting down behind the piano as he set up “Vienna.” Thank you for coming!”

A trio of saxophones drove “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” as Joel, 75, charged left with his mic stand during the group’s take on the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up.”

As always, terrific harmonies sealed indelible moments as Joel and company took on a pair of vocal heavy covers in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (Solomon Linda) and “Barbara Ann” (The Regents/Beach Boys). Wrapping up the early medley, “The Longest Time” proved even more impressive, with five vocalists singing behind Joel throughout the sparsely arranged rendition of the track.

“Today is the first day of summer!” Joel observed excitedly, rolling out another deep cut in “Zanzibar” from 1978’s 52nd Street.

“The River of Dreams” celebrated Tina Turner via a snippet of “River Deep, Mountain High” which featured Crystal Taliefero on vocal, with Joel soon shifting to opera for Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” (as sung by powerhouse vocalist Mike DelGuidice).

Offering up cuts like “Sleeping with the Television On” and “Sometimes a Fantasy,” Joel dug deep in his catalog, saving the hits for last as he cruised toward finish.

“This next song, you probably know,” said Joel, understating the obvious as he picked up harmonica, letting the crowd of 60,000 plus do the heavy lifting on “Piano Man.” “It’s a pretty good crowd for a… Friday!” joked the singer, improvising a bit during the Friday night performance.

Saxophone drove “We Didn’t Start the Fire” to open the encore as images of the historical persons and events that define the song’s iconic video ran on screen behind the nine band members on stage.

Joel channeled his inner rock star, avoiding piano entirely for the first three encore numbers, with images of his snazzy red blazer from the “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” video drawing smiles from the immense crowd as it ran behind him on screen.

Returning to piano for “Big Shot,” Joel and company tried one last cover as the closing cut meandered into Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” during the show’s closing moments.

“I had no idea I’d still be doing this job at 75 years old,” observed Joel on stage in Chicago. “It’s the same job I had at 15 years old. So, I’m a very lucky man,” he continued. “And I thank you for making me such a lucky man.”

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