Sting & Jerry Seinfeld Are Surprise Guests at Billy Joel 100th Concert

Billy Joel and Sting
Credit: James Devaney/CBS

You knew it was going to be special, and it sure was, as Sting and Jerry Seinfeld surprised concert-goers last night (March 28) at Billy Joel‘s 100th consecutive residency performance at Madison Square Garden. The event was being televised for Joel’s first-ever concert to air on a broadcast network.

Last night’s show was taped for the CBS special The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden – The Greatest Arena Run of All Time and will air on Sunday, April 14 at 9pm ET. Music icon Sting performed many hits with Joel, including “Big Man on Mulberry Street” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” Beloved comedian, actor, writer and director Jerry Seinfeld joined Joel on stage to raise the historic banner commemorating his unprecedented run.

“We have done this sort of remarkable achievement by playing Madison Square Garden once a month 100 times. And if you just do the math, it’s 18,000 people a night, so 1.8 million people have seen it, but that’s all,” shares Steve Cohen, creative director and producer who’s worked with Billy since 1974. “The rest of the country and the rest of the world has not had the experience of being in the room with Billy at Madison Square Garden. We want to share this experience with them.”

Selecting what songs will air in the two-hour TV special will now be the biggest challenge, with a hit list as deep as Joel’s.

“As far as songs go, look, the Billy fan base and the people who love him are familiar with his entire catalog. We have a 90-minute special [factoring in commercials]. Our show runs traditionally two hours plus, so you’re not going to get everything in there,” Cohen adds. “We’re going to have to make a selection of the songs. And really our job is to look at this show and see the real standout performances. We anticipate that ‘Uptown Girl’ will be in the show, but if we have a better performance of ‘It Is Still Rock and Roll to Me,’ it may surpass ‘Uptown Girl.’ I mean, it’s an embarrassment of riches as a producer. And for Billy, he doesn’t really care. He calls his songs his children, so as long as the kids get a good showing, he’ll be happy.”


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Capturing the electrifying vibe of being at the iconic Madison Square Garden is one thing, but another is Billy as a performer.

“One of the parts of this show that is also important that has to be feathered in is Billy is an incredible entertainer and his personality, and his chats before songs ,and his setups before songs, and his stories about how the songs were written and who they were written about, and those kinds of things, that’s another piece,” Cohen adds. “That’s another piece that you never ever get a chance to experience, and that’s also something that’s going to eat up some time in the broadcast. So for us, it’s really boiling it down to the best of the best. And look, there’s going to be people who are going to be disappointed. They are going to be disappointed that we can’t do all of it. Hopefully at some point the entire show gets seen.”

While Joel could have sold the show to any streamer, he opted to give back to his fans and make sure everyone could see the concert for free on broadcast TV. It’s his gift to fans.