Billy Joel spotted a new “uptown girl” at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night — one born long after the 1983 classic became his biggest hit the one.
That would be 19-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo, who famously named the pianist on her 2021 hit “Déjà Vu”: “And I bet she knows Billy Joel/” Because you played her ‘Uptown Girl’/You sing together.”
And, fittingly, Rodrigo and Joel sang “Déjà Vu” and “Uptown Girl” together to some audience members old enough to be her grandparents. But surprisingly, more people in the crowd know the words to sing along with “Déjà Vu” than you might think. Meanwhile, Joel smiled and nodded on the piano bench.
A bittersweet breakup song like ‘Déjà Vu’ could be a love affair between Rodrigo and Joel as the giddy young star makes a surprise appearance at the New York legend’s latest concert after he was in MSG of the monthly residency period.
“I love her music — so do my kids,” Joel said on his revolving piano as he introduced the three-time Grammy winner. After making Rodrigo the focal point of “Déjà Vu,” Joel gets up from his piano and joins her in the “Uptown Girls” duet, which is hilarious. It’s a testament to how the 73-year-old’s music transcends generations.
This is the latest in a series of surprise guests – from Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi to Tony Bennett and Miley Cyrus – which Joel has been at since January 2014 Gardens have welcomed them since their residence. Of course, this guy is one of the most surprising.
But it’s also ironic that Joel is embracing and being embraced by one of the hottest young artists during Harry Styles’ 15-show at the Gardens, which opened last Saturday. It’s like he’s letting New York know that he’s not going to be the irrelevant old guy in his own family.
“I want to thank Harry Styles for taking time off tonight so we can squeeze in here,” he said cheekily.
Joel went on to thank viewers for waiting two years for the COVID makeup show, which was delayed from 2020.
“I don’t know if I’m going to do it for me,” he said. “Anyway, it’s nice to be back in the garden. We’re a family band now.”