UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau Coliseum hosted its final concert before shutting down for extensive renovations.
As CBS2’s Jill Nicolini reported, Long Island native and resident Billy Joel bid the venue farewell Tuesday night.
And as CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the Piano Man brought the house down. He was introduced by New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Billy never forgot where he came from,” Cuomo said.
Schneider even saw Joel backstage and he graciously agreed to take a selfie.
The audience booed the governor, apparently not liking the mix of pop culture and politics, Schneider reported. But fans were thrilled to see Joel before the lights go out for good at the Nassau Coliseum.
Other legends also joined Joel onstage. Paul Simon joined him for a rendition of “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” and actor Kevin James of “The King of Queens” fame also made an appearance.
This was Joel’s 32nd show at the venue in Uniondale, the “Piano Man” holds the most sell-out performances at the Coliseum, which opened in 1972.
Elvis Presley performed at the Coliseum in both 1973 and 1975. He was also scheduled to be back on stage there in August 1977, but he passed away six days before the venue.
Other legends such as Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and U2 have all graced the stage. Springsteen played marathon sets during three shows at the stadium in 1980.
The arena has also served as home for the New York Islanders hockey team for 43 seasons.
Some of the best memories on the ice happened when the Isles took home the Stanley Cup in 1980, 1981, and 1983.
Fans said it won’t be the same after the Islanders leave for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They said the nostalgia of the Coliseum they have known since 1972 will be erased.
“When I came here for the first time today and I looked at it bare, I was crying, to be honest,” said Adam Shaked of East Meadow, Long Island. “I’ve been to over 35 games last season and I’ve been coming here since I was 5. So it’s really bittersweet.”
“I think the Island lost something very valuable — the Islanders,” said Joel Weisinger of Mount Sinai, Long Island.
Joel is so legendary at the Coliseum that he has his own banner flying from the rafters that will soon be torn down.
Fans said Joel was a final fitting act.
“I think it’s great,” said Rex Gerhardt of East Meadow. “He’s a Long Islander, and he’s perfect for this final concert.”
“Billy Joel is Long Island. I think it’s wonderful,” Weisinger added. “I hope he’s here to open the next one.”
The new complex is expected to open in December 2016. It will have about 4,000 fewer seats.