Review: Gary native helps Piano Man Billy Joel rock Motor City

2014-02-17T21:30:00Z 2014-02-17T22:20:07Z Review: Gary native helps Piano Man Billy Joel rock Motor CityDamian Rico, The Times
February 17, 2014 9:30 pm  • 

AUBURN HILLS, MI | Not even The Palace of Auburn Hills' sold-out crowd could permeate the nerves of Gary-native Crystal Taliefero as she sang a superb soulful rendition of Motown icon Martha Reeves' (seated in the audience) "Dancing in the Street" during Billy Joel's concert Saturday.

Taliefero, touring with the legendary Joel since 1989, found out just moments before that her boss would call upon her to lead the instantly identifiable hit in front of the capacity crowd.

"In Detroit, the vibe was intense and to know Martha Reeves was there watching-that was powerful," said Taliefero. "Definitely a night I will always remember."

Billy Joel's two-hour performance included hit after hit, some "album cuts," a tribute to the Beatles with "Can't Buy Me Love" and some surprises celebrating Detroit's rich musical influence including "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and native Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll."

Joel and his gang soulfully and craftily executed songs, including some of his rare deeper tracks, from as early as 1971 with "Everybody Loves You Know" to his last album that includes fan favorite title track "River of Dreams," featuring the electrifying intro with Taliefero on percussion.

Just months ago, Joel announced that he signed an exclusive music deal to perform with his band at New York City's legendary Madison Square Garden once a month (depending on demand), becoming a franchise at the venue. He is currently scheduled to perform 10 shows and counting.

"You never know what Billy's gonna do next," said Taliefero.

The highlights of Crystal Taliefero's career just keep coming, and as far as her future-the sky's the limit.

Detroit Set List: Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) | Pressure | I Heard It Through The Grapevine | The Entertainer | Vienna | Dancing In The Street | Zanzibar | A Room of Our Own | Can't Buy Me Love | New York State of Mind | Everybody Loves You Now | And So It Goes | Sometimes a Fantasy | She's Always A Woman | River of Dreams | Old Time Rock & Roll | Scenes From An Italian Restaurant | Piano Man

Encore: Uptown Girl | It's Still Rock & Roll To Me | You May Be Right | Big Shot | Only the Good Die Young

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by Damian Rico do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Times Media Co. To contact him, email

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