In 2013, there has been a lot of Billy Joel talk on The Scroll–mostly as I sought to defend the Bard of Long Island (an unofficial title) from the heinous slings and arrows of one curmudgeonly writer named Liel Leibovitz.
Leibovitz’s argument was that Joel’s music, in addition to being shlocky and uninspiring, also showed an utter contempt for humanity. I was not able to change his mind through music, anecdotes, or an endless feed of reader comments declaring their love for the man. But now I have a secret weapon: Video footage of Joel actually making a fan’s dreams come true.
At an event at Vanderbilt University earlier this year, a student and budding pianist named Michael Pollack made the bold request that he accompany Billy Joel on Pollack’s favorite song “New York State of Mind.” Watch what happens.
Pollack told his school paper that “it was the probably greatest moment of my life, up to date.” Mine will be when Liel admits that Billy Joel is a better man than all of us.
Earlier: The Billy Joel Experiment
Michael Pollack in ‘New York State of Mind’ after accompanying Joel [Inside Vandy]