Billy Joel Celebrates 100 at MSG Tonight! Where You Can Watch It!

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Billy Joel performs at Billy Joel In Concert - New York, New York at Madison Square Garden on May 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

When Madison Square Garden first opened its doors in 1879, it became THE place for artists and athletes to perform for the world. It’s also THE place Long Island music legend Billy Joel has made home for years. The Piano Man and MSG are now synonymous. Tonight, Joel marks a major milestone when he takes the stage at MSG for his 100th consecutive show.

Joel started an unprecedented MSG residency in 2014, performing one concert every month at the World’s Most Famous Arena. In July 2015, Joel set a record when he played his 65th show at MSG, which was the most performances by any artist at the Garden. He set a record on July 18, 2018 when he reached his 100th lifetime performance and that was at MSG, as well. Tonight, however, is his 100th consecutive show (Thursday, March 28, 2024), marking yet another milestone for the artist.

“When this franchise run at Madison Square Garden began in January 2014, I said I’d play one show a month ‘as long as the demand continues.’ I never imagined I’d still be playing one show a month 10 years later – it’s a testament to my amazing fans, and the 1.6 million people from around the world who have already been part of this historic residency,” said Joel. “Now, after 10 incredible years, it feels right to conclude this journey with my 150th lifetime show [July 2024] at The Garden – I look forward to celebrating this final run of shows with my fans.”

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: A general view of the plaque commemorating "Billy Joel's Piano" at a press conference honoring Joel's 100th Lifetime Performance at Madison Square Garden on July 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Tonight’s show is equally special as it will be televised to air next month on CBS. The two-hour special, The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden — The Greatest Arena Run of All Time, will air Sunday, April 14, on CBS. There will be 22 cameras capturing the concert tonight for this TV special.

Steve Cohen, the creative director and producer who’s worked with Billy since 1974 and has done every live show with him, reflects back on their journey in amazement.

“I’ve been working with Billy for four decades now. We kind of look back at it all and go, ‘God, look at where we landed,’” Cohen says. It’s been quite the journey, as Cohen started in his 20s as Billy’s lighting company. “We were circus clowns, we were following the circus around. I was a one-man lighting crew. It was a band with two roadies, and we went on the road and put on shows. And as success happened, we got a little bit more money to spend. As the technology started to grow, we added a little bit more technology to be able to integrate. But really at the end of the day, I was the lighting guy. There was a lighting guy, a sound guy, a band and a band roadie. And that’s what we did. And we were fortunate that success came.”

Today, Joel is one of the most successful artists of all time. His songs are beloved anthems. His lyrics forever immortalized — “John at the bar is a friend of mine,” “You may be right, I may be crazy,” “I’m in a New York state of mind,” “Captain Jack will get you by tonight,” “Only the good die young” and so many more. And fans at MSG tonight will most likely hear them all.

Who will join Billy for this 100th?

“I think in over 50 cases we’ve had anyone anywhere from Miley Cyrus and Olivia Rodrigo to Sting, Elvis Costello, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, you name it. And when they’re in town, Billy’s friends with all of them and invites them to come down and invariably they come up on stage,” Cohen shares. “So for me to anticipate that that’s not going to happen on March 28 would be silly of me. I don’t know who it is. We have an inkling of a few people that are around, but I would imagine that there will be a surprise guest or two just because that’s the nature of how that run is going. And as far as songs go, look, the Billy fan base and the people who love him are familiar with his entire catalog.”

For those of you who can’t be there tonight, Billy’s got a gift coming to you on April 14.

“We are going to capture this in the finest possible format, both visually and sound wise, and really make the TV audience feel like they’re part of it,” Cohen says. “I have said this often that there are three stars of the Billy Joel show at Madison Square Garden: There is obviously Billy, there is the Garden and there is the audience, and the three of them, the sum is greater than the parts. You get an emotional sort of coming together that only happens in New York City and only happens with Billy at the Garden. So our job is to just be there, capture it, capture it as completely and as creatively as we can, and then present it to the audience in a way that they’re going dig it sitting in their living room.”