The student, Michael Pollack, stood up during a question-and-answer session with the singer and posed what had to be the question he's been waiting to ask his whole life.
Mentioning the performer's sax player, he said, "My favorite song of yours is 'New York State of Mind.' I was very fortunate to play with Richie Cannata many times in New York City, and I was wondering if I could play it with you."
After a short pause, Joel said, "OK."
To wild cheers, the student went onstage, and Joel asked him, "What do you play? You play piano? What key do you do it in?"
"What key do you want it in?" Pollack shot back. The musical talent then showed that he could tickle the keys. From the first chords, it was clear: This kid could play.
The college freshman almost stole the show with his obvious skills, and the crowd went wild for the performance.
The two then performed the heck out of the song, with Pollack adding plenty of improv. It was a flawless performance, as if the two had done this together many times before.
Billy Joel certainly seemed impressed. "Remember the name," he told the audience. "Guy's got chops!"
Rolling Stone notes that although the "Piano Man" was generous with sharing the spotlight, it's been awhile since he himself has performed, choosing instead to tour college campuses. But he'll be back in late April for a show at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and the Stone Music Festival in Australia.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Billy Joel