One of the most highly anticipated concerts on Long Island is finally upon us, which is a triumphant event for many music fans, both young and old alike, for two reasons: its star and its venue.
For those who haven’t heard, Long Island resident and legendary musician Billy Joel aka “The Piano Man” will be performing the inaugural concert at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum, on April 5, ushering in a new era of extraordinary musical performances on the Island!
It’s a long-awaited gig, and a long-awaited reopening.
The beloved venue—originally opened in 1972 and nicknamed “The Old Barn” in its previous life—has been an integral part of the Island’s entertainment fabric and collective history. It has hosted countless unforgettable performances, be they epic sports battles, or once-in-a-lifetime, for-the-record-books concerts.
Basketball legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving led the New York Nets to two ABA Championships at Nassau Coliseum through 1977 before they moved to New Jersey after merging into the NBA. The much-missed New York Islanders NHL hockey team, one of sports’ great dynasties, won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. The Isles were longtime tenants before skating to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2015. Transcendental musical performances have spanned decades and included a vast array of bands and genres, among these: the Grateful Dead, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Metallica, Judas Priest, and many, many more.
Included on that list is the very last show before the Coliseum shuttered its doors for a $165 million renovation. Who played that noteworthy show? Yup, you guessed it: Billy The Kid!
Construction on the new digs actually started the very next day following the Piano Man’s performance, on Aug. 5, 2015. Renamed the NYCB Live Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the new and improved go-to spot for live sports and musical performances in Nassau County now features high-definition screens, widened concourses, brand-new seats, Long Island-centric concessions, and revamped restrooms, among other amenities. The new venue holds 13,900 seats.
That’s just what’s inside. Its outer façade—adorned with reams and reams of aluminum fins to depict our gorgeous dunes along the South Shore—reminds some observers of a spaceship. (X-Files, anyone?) An additional $100 million will go toward further upgrades and development surrounding the state-of-the-art facility.
This week’s upcoming spectacular is no exception to the Nassau Coliseum’s history of stellar gigs, and it too will undoubtedly be one to remember!
One of the most famous native Long Islanders, Joel will likely lead all those in attendance along a musical journey spanning his storied career, with spectacular renditions of such blockbuster hits as “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” “Piano Man,” “An Innocent Man,” “Big Shot,” “The Longest Time,” and, of course, “Nassau State Of Mind”—eh, I mean “New York State Of Mind!”
The gig has been sold out, as Joel would say, “For The Longest Time,” but don’t let that stop you from visiting this amazing new concert space and checking out any combination of outstanding music acts coming there throughout the upcoming weeks, months and years!