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Billy Joel celebrated his record-setting 65th appearance at Madison Square Garden on July 1st with … “The King of Queens” star Kevin James presiding over the banner-raising ceremony to mark the occasion, as Joel passed Elton John as the artist who has headlined the arena the most times. … Joel became the first person to have two banners hang in the Garden's historic rafters. … Joel's other banner marks the most consecutive performances at the arena, a record that currently stands at 19. Both of the Hicksville native's banners will change monthly, as he continues to break records with his open-ended residency at the Garden. Joel, 66, referenced his MSG debut on Dec. 14, 1978, by playing “Honesty,” a ballad he rarely sings. – Newsday
“Welcome to Madison Square Garden – the center of the universe,” Billy said as 20,000 fans roared. “I didn't know I'd be here 65 times, amazing. I want to thank you very much for making this possible.” … Joel was excited throughout his performance, which featured his top notch band. … Elton John, 68, previously had the MSG record with 64 performances. Joel sang John's “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as yellow lights beamed from the stage. “He's a good man and a good friend and I'd like to dedicate this song to him,” Joel said. – The Associated Press
On Wednesday, fans were in even greater spirits as they prepared to witness their native son make history. … More than two hours later, Joel had given the 20,000 in attendance exactly what they'd come to see. He seemed genuinely awed by his record-breaking achievement. … “I [thought] a long time ago that if I didn't have a record every year on the charts, it would just go away. People would stop coming. I haven't had a record on the charts in 22 years.” – The Village Voice
When Joel goes back to 1980’s Glass Houses, it’s usually for the pseudo-New Wave smashes “You May be Right” or “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” or the breezy acoustic jam “Don’t Ask Me Why.” On Wednesday, as a treat to those who dig deeper cuts, he dug out the album’s closer, “Through the Long Night,” a Beatles-esque tune he said he’d only played one other time. … During the encore, Joel fans hoping for a guest appearance by one of Billy’s big-name pals were undoubtedly psyched to hear the opening chords of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”Joel played Joe Cocker's version of the Beatles classic with only the support of his bandmates — most notably multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero-Pratt, who provided some mighty fine background vocals. – Billboard
Billy Joel MSG 65th Show Banner Presentation
Billy Joel 65th Concert Cake Backstage At MSG (Video by Mark Rivera)
Billy Joel and surprise guest Kevin James celebrate the raising of a new banner at Madison Square Garden on July 1, 2015 for Billy's 65th performance at the venue, the most for any single artist.
Billy Joel watches as a new banner is raised at Madison Square Garden, in New York, NY, on July 1, 2015 to celebrate his 65th show at the venue, the most for any single artist.
The crew and band surprise Billy Joel backstage at Madison Square Garden with at “65” cake before the show on July 1, 2015.
Billy Joel greets the audience during his 65th show at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, on July 1, 2015.
Billy Joel performs live on stage during his 65th show at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, on July 1, 2015.
Fans in the audience wear banners to celebrate Billy Joel's 65th show at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, on July 1, 2015.
A fan in the audience holds a “Billy Square Garden” sign during Billy Joel's record-breaking 65th show at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, on July 1, 2015.
Billy Joel Set List – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – July 1, 2015
Official photos by Jeff Schock, Al Pereira and Myrna Suárez (@myrnsuarezphoto)