The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a legendary dump of an arena on Long Island, is closing down for now. On Wednesday, it’ll start a massive renovation project that will include partial demolition. And last night, Billy Joel, maybe Long Island’s most iconic musician, closed out the venue by playing his first show there in 17 years. He did everything he could to make it special, too. In the middle of the show, he introduced a fellow New Yorker, Paul Simon, and the two of them collaborated on three songs: Simon’s “Me And Julio Down At The Schoolyard” and “Late In The Evening,” as well as Simon And Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.” There were some good-natured hockey jibes in there, too, as the arena’s Islanders are about to move to Brooklyn. Joel also brought out another famous native of the area, sitcom dad Kevin James, who took part in a comedy bit about sitting at Joel’s piano and then actually did a serviceable job playing Joel’s “Miami 2017.” And Joel also played his River Of Dreams opener “No Man’s Land” (a song about the darker side of the LI suburbs) for the first time in almost 20 years. Watch fan-made footage of all of that below.
You don’t have to be a fan of Billy Joel — or, for that matter, a fan of Long Island — to think that his connection with the area is a very cool thing.