Enjoy Your FREE Front-Row Ticket to Billy Joel Concert Special

Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden on January 7, 2016 in New York City
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Music icon Billy Joel is doing something special to celebrate his record-breaking Madison Square Garden residency that started in 2014. The beloved Long Islander is giving back to his fans and allowed cameras to capture his 100th consecutive monthly show at MSG for his first ever broadcast TV concert special. Consider this your free front-row ticket to a long sold-out show!

The two-hour special, The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden — The Greatest Arena Run of All Time, airs Sunday, April 14 at 9pmET on CBS. Special guests include Sting and Jerry Seinfeld.

While Billy has played Madison Square Garden once a month to sold-out crowds for 100 times now, that only adds up to about 1.8 million people who have seen his show. The rest of the country and the rest of the world has yet to experience being in the room with Billy at Madison Square Garden and that’s what Billy wanted to share with his fans.

Here Steve Cohen, creative director and producer who’s worked with Billy since 1974, shares a little more on his longtime friend and the magic they’ve created over their near 50-year partnership.

Selecting songs from Billy Joel’s 50-year catalog was an embarrassment of riches.

“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.”

Billy purposely wanted to make his concert special available on broadcast versus a streaming service.

“Billy is a working-class guy, and we all come from Sunday night appointment TV. From Ed Sullivan to the Barbra Streisand concerts, to all of the things that were network television, appointment TV. In this era of streaming, where you get so much content and you get the entire thing, that’s all great, but you have to pay for that. And Billy loves the idea that we are doing this for free and it’s basically a give back,” Cohen tells us. “There’s a good part of the country that just watches the three networks still. And I think that was a decision we made because it’s keeping with Billy’s Long Island roots and how we have managed to keep ticket prices at the lower end of the expensive spectrum in order to allow people to see it. One of the things that Billy does is we don’t sell the first two rows in any concert, and the road crew goes up before the show and swaps out nosebleed tickets for those first two rows so that the people who couldn’t afford or couldn’t pay the scalper money to get those front rows, we don’t allow them to get ’em. And that’s part of the reason we chose network TV. The downside is we can’t do the whole show. But I think the tradeoff is worth it.”

Songs you can look forward to hearing include: “New York State of Mind,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “My Life,” “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and, of course, his anthem “Piano Man.”

Getting goose bumps on goose bumps talking about the most meaningful Billy Joel song.

“I have to put this in context, and part of the biggest lesson we learned was in 2020 when we’ve done this residency for 10 years, but we had to take a year off because of COVID and everybody in the country, everybody in the world, that sense of community, that sense of camaraderie, being in a big room together, singing along — that was taken away from us. I did not realize how much I missed it, and I also did not realize how much the world missed it. I think that first night back after COVID, when we came back and played that show in November at Madison Square Garden, after a year off, we end the main set with ‘Piano Man.’ And though it is not my favorite Billy Joel song, there’s the line in there that says, ‘forget about life for a while.’ I think at that moment, my goose bumps had goose bumps. It really made me grateful that this was the world and the life that we lead, but also made me realize how precious that sense of community and music is, and what Billy can bring to an audience that allows [them] to forget about life for a while. And you want to talk about humbling that humbles you when you realize that you have meaning in other people’s lives.”

Now, if he really had to pick a song, however, it would be …

“I think for me, every night ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant’ is played. I’ve heard that song thousands of times and I hear something different in it every time I hear it. So I think out of all of the songs in Billy’s catalog, that’s the one that resonates the most. But I’m also a big fan of the B and the C tracks. I love the stuff that doesn’t get played often. And when we start putting these set lists together, I always try and slip in a deep track because he likes playing the deep tracks, the band likes playing the deep tracks because they are sometimes the ones that are the most interesting. The hits get beat to death. So when you pull a song out like ‘A Matter of Trust,’ or you pull a song out like ‘Shameless’ or ‘Half a Mile Away,’ we get a thrill. Billy gets a thrill out of doing those things.”

Now is your chance to get your own thrills and goosebumps when you experience the magic of Billy Joel on CBS with The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden — The Greatest Arena Run of All Time. The special airs on CBS Sunday, April 14 at 9pmET.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service, as well as on-demand. Paramount+ Essential subscribers will not have the option to stream live but will have access to on-demand the day after the special airs.