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Billy Joel announces residency at Madison Square Garden

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Billy Joel and Madison Square Garden announced in a joint press conference Tuesday that Joel will perform a show a month at the Garden for, according to Joel, “as long as the audience demands.”

The music icon will be the fourth franchise at the venue – joining sport teams the Knicks, the Liberty and the Rangers. The venue even unveiled Joel’s own MSG logo.

"Billy, having you as our music franchise feels a little bit like having the pope as your parish priest," Garden Executive Jim Dolan said.

Four shows announced previously at the Garden – Jan. 27, Feb. 3, March 21 and April 18 – are already sold out. A fifth show, on May 9, was added Tuesday. More shows will be announced later.

"I've been touring almost all my life," Joel said. "The idea of being on the road for long periods of time isn't appealing to me at this point. I can commute to work, like everyone else does. You take the schlep factor out."

The Bronx native has played the Garden 46 times, starting in 1978. In 2006, he played a run of 12 sold out concerts, a record for the Garden.

Joel plans to mix it up for each show. "When I was on tour with Elton, we pretty much did the same show every night. That becomes rote; I don't want to be on automatic pilot,” he said. "We're going to change the set list, and I want to do more obscure songs. I'd like to get to the point where at least 50% of the show is obscurities."

Tickets for May 9 go on sale Saturday. On Sunday, Joel will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor from President Obama.


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