Last night was one of those classic New York nights. I mean, what can possibly be more New York than Billy Joel at MSG? In a rather last minute surprise, I found myself entering the doors of Madison Square Garden to witness one of the greatest names in showbiz, the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel.
When I moved to NYC, I made a sort of “bucket list” for things I really wanted to do during my time here (hopefully forever) – Billy Joel at MSG was one of them. Well last night, I was able to cross that off along with a few other “to-do’s”.
Before heading to “The Garden”, we stopped in at a little Irish bar on 8th ave in Midtown called Tir Na Nog (Land of the Young) for one of the best served Guinness beers in the city (apparently, there’s a method to the pour). I don’t think I’ve ever had a Guinness (I think I’d know if I did), but let me tell you, that was one hell of a good tasting beer (and didn’t take long before it was all gone).
After that delightful treat, it was on to a night of singing and dancing with legend himself, the Piano Man! As we found our seats, the anticipation built being we had heard there was going to be a special surprise guest.
Before we knew it, the lights were dimmed and the crowd began going wild. The keys of the piano struck and within seconds, “Well you went uptown riding in your limousine, with your fine Park Avenue clothes…” – Billy Joel was rockin’ out with one of his classic hits, Big Shot!
Playing hit after hit, including some of my favorites like Uptown Girl, Piano Man and Still Rock and Roll To Me, Billy Joel proved once again that “Only the good die young” (the very song he concluded with after an amazing, and longer-than-normal, encore). In addition to the stellar performance (the man is a force to be reckoned with) was an extra special night because it was his 65th performance – the most performances by a single artist (he surpassed Elton John by 1). Kevin James (the anticipated special guest) was there to commemorate the occasion by raising a special flag in the arena.
As if that wasn’t enough of a kick-ass night, we ended with a nightcap at a rather “secret” spot, Bathtub Gin. Ok, well, it’s not so secret anymore, but it is a speakeasy hidden in the back of a coffee shop on 9th ave! This hidden gem lends its name to the Prohibition era when alcohol was illegal and secret locations would seep berries in bathtubs filled with gin to make it more “drinkable” (apparently, this prohibition made liquor quality unbearable). When these homemade products were deemed to be toxic, bartenders at these hidden bars were encouraged to make their own concoctions.
With an endless list of delicious and carefully crafted cocktails (try the La Rosita or Parakeet), darling décor and fabulous fare, it’s no wonder there’s a line outside even after being around for quite some time (not usual for New York new comers). Oh, and don’t miss their weekly burlesque shows…a definite plus adding to the whole Roaring-20’s vibe.
Smooth beer, songsters and speakeasies…the perfect recipe for creating a “New York State of Mind”!