Picks and Pans Review: 2000 Years—the Millennium Concert

updated 05/08/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Joel (Columbia)

Opening his New Year's Eve concert with the heroic strains of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was intended as a salute from one piano man to another. But even though Beethoven never won a Grammy (Joel has five) and was not signed to a major label in his lifetime, the dead Romantic composer upstages the living one. After the Ninth, Joel's bombastic "Big Shot" sounds lame by comparison. But Joel's anthems for Everyman do have their appeal—100 million albums sold to date—and the native New Yorker pulls out all the stops here for his Madison Square Garden admirers. With the odd exception of two signatures—"Piano Man" and "Just the Way You Are"—Joel swings his classics, plus a crowd pleaser by more contemporary idols, the Rolling Stones' "Honky-Tonk Women."

Bottom Line: Slam dunk for a hometown crowd

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