MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel Performs An Early Live Version Of Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel Performs An Early Live Version Of Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Can you beat this? Seriously – does anyone perform like this anymore. Live. Multitasking voice and piano skills with aplomb and professionalism?  

Yes, I know what my regular readers are thinking. Another article about Billy Joel?  Think outside the Billy Joel box MCL!  Ha!

But this performance was too good to pass up and you shall see why.  It showcases all sorts of musical craziness and hyperactivity at its best. This song moves at rapid pace, much faster than the recorded version.  But this is what makes it so exciting. The energy, the showmanship and accuracy at breakneck speed is amazing to watch. 

And check the 3:16 mark where Billy Boy shakes out his left hand after a busy piano sequence. Just calmly shaking out the tension while  continuing to sing flawlessly. The art of performance right there, folks!  Make the technical problems part of the act.  Then wave goodbye in accordance with the lyrics and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Bye bye tension.  Bye Bye Brenda and Eddie. 

I have this song on speed dial on my Apple Music song list when I excercise.  Well, actually, I tell Siri to play the song and, like a polite little servant, it hastily streams this phenomenal song. 

It is said that Billy Joel once said that this is his “Bohemian Rhapsody”. And I agree – with one caveat. It is certainly not as dark as Bohemian and the lyrics are not as disturbing.  It does speak about a marital breakdown but at least it doesn’t talk about killing a man. Oy. 

From Wikipedia:

“After years of speculation about exactly which restaurant inspired the song, Joel stated in an interview included on 2008’s The Stranger 30th Anniversary Edition DVD that the song was written about Fontana di Trevi, a restaurant across from Carnegie Hall, which he frequented during a series of June 1977 concerts. The song’s signature line: “A bottle of red, a bottle of white, whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight” was actually spoken to him by a waiter at Fontana di Trevi while Joel ordered.[4] He has further stated that the restaurant in the story has more than one real-life counterpart; however, Fontana di Trevi was on his mind while he was writing the song.”

I love the fusion of genres in this number. Classical piano meets jazz meets Dixieland meets soul meets rock and roll.  Incredible stuff. 

Feel free to download this iconic Billy Joel classic as featured on his Greatest Hits album on iTunes or stream it on Apple Music.  At 7 minutes in length, it will jumpstart your exercise routine and entertain you at the same time. 

You can also watch other live versions of this song, such as Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (Stereo – Live at Shea Stadium, July 2008) and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (from Live at Yankee Stadium)

But, before you do so, watch this video below. It is a must -see!  

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

6 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel Performs An Early Live Version Of Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”

  1. I saw Billy Joel live in 2002 in North Charleston. He was part of the Piano Man tour with Elton John. My main reason for going was to see Elton John and I thought “great, Billy Joel will be there too, I like his songs”. He & his band blew me away. The audience was on their feet and clapping. He brought so much energy and just plain skill to the evening. I am a long-time fan. Thanks, MCL – I just don’t think you can ever say too much about Billy Joel!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing jrzgrl. It sounds like a wonderful evening. I hope to see him live someday and could kick myself for not seeing him sooner. Thank for the Billy Joel love. Glad I am not the only one obsessed with this man and his music!!!


  3. billy joel is on jimmy kimmel’s show tonight, in case you are interested…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Hunter. I watched it. Loved it!!


  5. mcl: i found a t-shirt in my closet..basically ‘new’, from the elton john/billy joel concert. summer of ’94. do you want it? it is XL. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aww you are too sweet Hunter. Please keep it though. You are so generous but this is a are treasured item. I couldn’t take it from you. Thank you though. So, SO much. Very thoughtful of you. 💕🌹


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