Billy Joel: This long tour may be his last
February 3, 1998
Web posted at: 4:22 p.m. EST (2122 GMT)
From Correspondent Mark Scheerer
PORTLAND, Maine (CNN) -- Some have dubbed Billy Joel's
just-launched concert tour the "farewell to rock" tour. Joel
himself says he is not steering away from rock for good. But
the piano man is charting a new course.
"I'm not going to say that it's the end of something," Joel
said, as he rehearsed in a Portland civic center for the
first date of his "Face-to-Face" international tour. "But I
don't think I'm going to do any more long tours after this
At 48 years old, Joel is tired of the tour grind, preferring
these days to write instrumental music for piano and
"It feels kind of odd to sometimes be competing with people
who are a third of your age," he said. "Y'know, there's this
band out, Hanson, they're 15 or something. I'm more than
three times older than that."
John and Joel have toured before
But as he leaves for a year on the road, he doesn't want fans
of his rock and pop songs to think he's freezing them out
yet. He's spending part of this year teamed up with Elton
John in Europe, Asia and Down Under.
He and John have toured together before -- the last time was
in 1992 -- both of them tickling the ivories to fans'
"It's fun, because I'm looking across all this piano. I've
got my piano and then there's his piano and at the other end
of it, there's Elton John. So I'm not only a musician, I'm a
fan on stage enjoying the show," he said. "I've got the
closest seat in the house to Elton John."
Longtime band members will join Joel
on his "Face-to-Face" tour
Longtime band members like Liberty DeVitto and Mark Rivera,
and talents like Crystal Taliefero and Becca Bramlett will
join Joel on this last tour -- which, he says, may not be his
fans' last chance to see him in concert.
"I'm not ruling out the possibility of another kind of
concert, another kind of venue," Joel said. "I'd like to get
smaller, actually, and maybe easier. A different kind of
scheduling, but not the long, drawn-out coliseum tours."
Offstage, Joel has launched a boat-building business
Meanwhile, offstage, Joel is taking pride in one of his
nonmusical endeavors. He has launched a boat-building
business, turning out speedy runabouts with old-school lines.
While he doesn't expect the enterprise to add much to his
income, he's been surprised by how well things are going.
"I think we're working on boat number nine, and it's only our
first year of operation. We didn't think we'd have that many
orders, so it's been pretty successful," he said.