Billy Joel Plays Nassau Coliseum Closer Tuesday

Billy Joel
“Piano Man” Billy Joel bids Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum farewell on Aug. 4, 2015. He will play the last show of his residency at Madison Square Garden in July 2024.

Billy Joel is playing the last concert Tuesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before it closes for $261 million in renovations—easily ranking as the most anticipated local performance of the year.

Tickets for concert sold out in five minutes on May 1, making it one of the quickest-selling concerts ever at the 43-year-old Uniondale arena. Tickets for resale on Stub Hub are priced as high as $2,166.75. The concert will be his 32nd at the coliseum, where a banner bearing his name hangs from the rafters.

“It was the first big arena I ever played, right after The Stranger came out in 1977,” The Piano Man recently told Entertainment Weekly. “Very, very exciting. Everyone I knew in the world was there. Ex-girlfriends, you know…”

The concert is Joel’s most expensive of the year, reselling at an average price of $268 a ticket—16 percent more than his January performance in Madison Square Garden, where he plays monthly, averaging a resale ticket price of $226.

Fans that waited to buy their tickets are not seeing the price drop they were hoping for, as the median listing price has gone from $350 to $469 in the past month, an increase of 34 percent. Even the cheapest ticket for sale has risen from $123 to $158 over the past month, a 22-percent increase.

Those looking to get as close as possible to the “Captain Jack” singer will pay the price, as tickets in the floor sections are reselling for an average of $389 each. The 100-level is not much cheaper, with the average ticket reselling for $370 each. Fans looking for a bargain can sit up in the 300-level, where the average resale price is $175.

Even though the six-time Grammy award winner frequently performs in New York, fans are especially excited to see the one that concludes the Nassau Coliseum’s legacy. Joel hasn’t played a solo show at the coliseum since 1998, where he set the arena’s record of nine sold-out shows in one year.

The concert is specifically dedicated to Long Islanders who will be in a Long Island state of mind, as they bid farewell to the beloved building and the memories associated with it—at least until its scheduled reopening in December 2016. An estimate 68 percent of tickets for the concert were reportedly bought by LI residents.

That’s because his local ties run deep. Joel, 66, grew up in Hicksville and now lives in Centre Island. Songs of his that reference LI include “It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me,” “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” and “The Downeaster Alexa.” His first solo album released in 1971 was titled Cold Spring Harbor.

In paying tribute to the coliseum, Joel is expected to perform along with surprise A-list special guests, similar to his performance that closed down Shea Stadium.

Among the plentiful memorabilia commemorating the historic concert are items for sale on rockandrolltshirts.com roughly pricing at $40—including posters, t-shirts, pins, ticket stubs, mugs, hats and keychains. A very limited number of framed drumheads signed by Joel can be had for a $400 minimum donation to Long Island Cares Inc.

The performance comes as the New York State Legislature considers a proposal to rename a stretch of Route 107 in his hometown as “Billy Joel Boulevard,” with lawmakers contending that the man who sold 150 million albums worldwide should have the recognition awarded to him. Opponents argued that bearing the name on a street is reserved as a “posthumous honor.” So much for “Only the good die young.”