Elton John and Billy Joel tonight at the Xcel Energy Center
Ah, Elton John-- wizard of the ivories, that rare songsmith to meld perfectly the pageantry and the quiet desperation of our inner lives. An alchemist of everything classic and rural about the American experience (not bad for a Brit), who turned stones of desperate longing and hero worship into gold nuggets, small enough to carry in your pocket.
His career speaks for itself, and as concert goers by the thousands prepare to descend upon the Xcel Energy Center for his performance tonight, the life's work of Elton John begs only one question:
What is he doing on tour with a large type douchebag like Billy Joel?
Who invited this guy? Billy Joel live, sorta.
Oh, we here at Gimme Noise know a little something about the ties that bind. We know about John and Joel's Face to Face tours, and the enormous success it brought them both. And sure, we love songs like "Movin' Out" as much as anyone's who's had to hear it in the IDS elevator.
But hasn't it always seemed that the piano is the only thing uniting these two otherwise incomparable artists? Their relative levels of success, the comparative sophistication of their material, the attitude with which they approach their craft... no matter which yardstick you use, it's hard to deny that the admittedly recalcitrant Elton John, author of "Curtains," "Harmony," and "My Father's Gun," really has nothing in common with the guy who wrote "River of Dreams" and then crashed his car into a house.
Oh, we're aware of works like "Piano Man" (after a night in any given karaoke bar in any given neighborhood, call us painfully aware), and "Only the Good Die Young" (which is right up there with some of the all time great date rape songs ever written). We're aware that he's the 6th best selling American recording artist of all time.
But we're also aware that the fifth best selling American recording artist of all time is Mariah Carey, a fact which instantly devalues any remaining honor that could be Joel's.
Oh, suffer us your slings and arrows, Gimme Noisers. We're used to it. But all your shouting and all your indignation, all your calls for us to be wiped from the blogosphere can't change the fact that Billy Joel is something of a putz (see his painful appearance on American Chopper), and that his works, after a couple hours on stage with a heavyweight like Elton John, will be snivelling in the gutter after trading blows with songs like "Madman Across the Water" and "Young Alice."
7:30 P.M. Xcel Energy Center. Tuesday, May 5.