Billy Joel isn’t taking too many wild musical swings these days. His performing life mostly revolves around a once-monthly helicopter commute from Long Island to Madison Square Garden, where he has performed in-residence, save for a pandemic pause, since 2014. While some artists use their runs at the Garden to pull out deep cuts or spontaneous stunts, the hallmark of Joel’s performances—which now exceed 100—has long been their reliability. In a given MSG setlist you can count on hearing all of Joel’s hits in fine form, albeit in a slightly different jumble from month-to-month. A surprise grab might constitute relative standbys like “Zanzibar” or “All For Leyna.” Even in the realm of covers, Joel and his long-running band haven’t gone much beyond a trusty rotation of karaoke rock anthems. Play it, Piano Man.
Arctic Monkeys – Lipstick Vogue (Elvis Costello cover)
Arctic Monkeys got a lot of attention covering the Strokes last week (especially because on his new album, Alex Turner sings: “I just want to be one of the Strokes”). But I preferred their wonderfully sleazy “Lipstick Vogue” cover, played in honor of Costello as he recovered from cancer surgery. Turner’s a product of his influences; in addition to the Strokes and Elvis, he appears to have his Nick Cave snake slither down cold.