The Entertainer In New York (Mainstream MSBR-70A/B)
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – December 11th, 1977
Disc 1 (69:48): Sound check/introduction, The Mexican Connection (opening tape), The Stranger, Somewhere Along The Line, Summer Highland Falls, Piano Man, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Travelin’ Prayer, Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), Still Crazy After All These Years, Just The Way You Are, Prelude/Angry Young Man, New York State Of Mind
Disc 2 (59:46)P: The Entertainer, Vienna, Root Beer Rag, She’s Always A Woman, I’ve Loved These Days, Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway), The Ballad Of Billy The Kid, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Captain Jack, Say Goodbye To Hollywood, Only The Good Die Young, Get It Right The First Time, Souvenir
This fantastic sounding tape had never been professionally booted until last autumn when Trial issued New York 1977 on cdr. The quality of the sound, the importance of the tape for both Billy Joel and New York radio and the incredible performance makes this title an essential acquisition. The Entertainer In New York is part of Mainstream’s “soundboard masters” series and comes from the same source as the previous release.
The sound quality is very similar and it sounds like the tape made by WNEW that night and not copied from the radio. Unique to this release is a ten-minute sound check fragment at the beginning of the first disc. There is no mention on the tape of the date or venue so we’ll take it at face value that it’s from this show.
There is nothing revelatory in the sound check: Joel singing “Young At Heart” and going through piano motifs and scales until the tape segues into the pre-show tape. It’s a nice addition although nothing very important.
What is important is the show and it is simply stunning to hear Joel right at the beginning of his fame in front of the hometown crowd. “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”, his attempt to duplicate side two of Abbey Road, sounds huge in this recording punctuating the tale of Brenda and Eddie, the kids who peaked in high school.
“Still Crazy After All These Years” is less than a minute of the Simon & Garfunkel tune. “I don’t remember the words” he confesses and proceeds to discuss his new keyboards playing a dopey kid’s television theme sounds as a prelude to the latest single “Just The Way You Are”.
This is another nice release from the Mainstream people and comes packaged with several interesting and dramatic photos of Joel c.1977. “Captain Jack” is listed as a separate track on the artwork but in reality is tracked with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” as the two tunes segue into one another.
The Entertainer In New York is well worth seeking out as an excellent summary of the early Billy Joel when he was still a glorified lounge singer (he is the piano man, after all) and before his ascent into superstardom and the beginning of his polemic side.