I happened to be out in downtown Hartford Saturday night (I swear it's fun...) just as the Billy Joel concert at the Hartford Civic Center was letting out.
There was a huge line of traffic making its way around Pulaski Circle toward the highways, but that's normal enough. As I walked up Trumbull Street, though, I was startled when an AMR ambulance passed me with "Piano Man" blaring out of the loudspeaker on top. One hopes there was no one in the back.
Incidentally, this was Joel's record-setting 22nd performance at the Civic Center over the years, and there was apparently a banner-raising or something to mark the occasion. This is no shot at Billy Joel, but keeping track of such things might make for the dumbest record ever.
This is what passes for civic pride in Hartford? Maybe we should put that on a billboard by the highway: "Billy Joel's been here 22 times — what's YOUR problem?"
Joel was bemused by the whole thing when I interviewed him in March, but he wasn't even aware of his impending record until I brought it up. And he was more interested in the notion that at some point, as he put it, "there might be more Joel-heads than Deadheads" than in having visited some non-descript arena 22 times.
Jerry Garcia had held the previous high score, but only if you cobble together a bunch of shows by the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band. And if you're going to count it that way, what about various backing musicians? Surely there's a touring musician somewhere who's been through the Civic Center more than 22 times.