Aug 4, ’15: Billy Joel Closes Venue With Paul Simon

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150424_bj_nassau_9banne (crop)It should come as no surprise that the record for most sold-out shows in one year at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – for decades the primary arena concert venue on Long Island – is held by Billy Joel, who grew up in nearby Hicksville and continues to live on what is called “The Island” throughout the region in the posh north shore village of Centre Island. So it’s only fitting that the “Piano Man” performed the last concert on August 4, 2015, at the outmoded Coliseum (that opened in 1972) before it closed for extensive renovation.

Joel has played more than 30 shows there over the years, setting its record for the most sell-outs (nine dates) during 1998 – the last time he played what is commonly referred to as Nassau Coliseum and has been the longtime home of the New York Islanders NHL team. A banner that hangs in the building’s rafters marks the occasion.

Watch Joel perform “Piano Man” at that final concert

Paul Simon joined Joel for three songs that evening. Watch them perform a pair of Simon hits

While Simon is no longer touring, he has continued to perform the occasional concert, including the 2022 Newport Folk Festival. When he does, tickets are available here and here.

This wasn’t the first time that Joel has headlined the final concert at a longtime New York area venue. His “The Last Play at Shea,” closed the outdated New York Mets baseball stadium in 2008. Joel built his pre-fame career playing Long Island and the New York City metro area since the mid 1960s with such groups as The Echoes (later known as The Emeralds and The Lost Souls) before joining a Long Island band the Hassles. He later formed the psychedelic hard rock duo Attila, before scoring his first hit with the 1973 single “Piano Man.” (See Newsday‘s “A Billy Joel tour of Long Island” for more on his local legacy.)

The August 4 “Final Concert at Nassau Coliseum” quickly sold-out. After an 18-month, $165 million renovation, the arena reopened on April 5, 2017 with–guess what–a Billy Joel concert!

Joel is concluding his historic MSG residency and also performs in other cities. Tickets are available here and here.

Related: 10 surprise guests at Joel’s historic MSG residency

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