Piano Man Billy Joel, in looking to re-connect with his fans, grabbed headlines by announcing he will return to the stage at the famous Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York City – not just once or twice – but once a month, indefinitely.
Single-artist residencies are a fairly common Las Vegas staple. For decades, big names like Elton John, Rod Stewart and most recently, Britney Spears, have been known to sign deals with Vegas casinos for extended engagements — and Woody Allen famously plays clarinet with a band at The Carlyle in Manhattan. But this is the first time that a major artist has announced such an ongoing large-scale gig.
With a new logo already in tow next to the long time sports franchises, MSG is gearing up for its first-ever music franchise in high spirits. So what does this mean for the Garden?
The Good: While big-name musicians have performed at the venue since the beginning of time, actually partnering with a single artist hasn’t been done. While the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty cover off on steady cash flow almost year-round, Joel will fill the musical artist gap and potentially combat any competition from other venues.
The Bad: Single-artist residencies have solely existed in the gambling land to this point. Is the Big Apple the appropriate marketplace, and is Joel the right guinea pig for MSG? Will the Bronx, NY native reach his target audience better in NY or Vegas? Only time will tell.
The Not So Ugly: This could be the start of a great collaboration for the Garden, for NYC and for Joel, whose top songs include “New York State of Mind,” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It could be the start of a new trend where artists and venues follow suit and NYC becomes an even greater hub for musical talent with extended engagement deals.
The new franchise, “Billy Joel at the Garden,” kicks off January 27, 2014 and has plans to continue each month as long as there is demand.