UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island’s own Billy Joel ushered in a new era at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night.
The “Piano Man” played to sold-out crowd for opening night, starting off the show with one of his many fan favorites — “Miami 2017” — and telling the crowd it’s an honor to be here.
Fan George Blessing first saw Joel nearly 50 years ago and on Wednesday he brought his 9-year-old Kayla for her first Joel concert.
“Well he’s the local boy you know made good,” he said.
“I really like his music,” his daughter said. “It’s just fun.”
The show was Joel’s 33rd at the venue in Uniondale, which just completed a $165 million makeover. Renovations include an aluminum fin-like design on the outside with new seats, concession stands, restrooms and food carts inside.
The building won praise for its sleek new design, but some fans at Wednesday night’s concert complained about the $40 parking fee.
“I think it’s outstanding, but what I don’t like about it is the $40 to park, that’s a big ripoff,” concertgoer Nadine Belkin said.
Joel played the venue’s final concert before it shut down for massive renovations in August 2015. Paul Simon joined him for a rendition of “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” and actor Kevin James also made an appearance during the three-hour show.
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. The team now calls Barclays Center home.
The Coliseum originally opened in 1972.
Stevie Nicks and The Pretenders will take the stage Thursday night.