Billy Joel Tribute Show Heralds Return of Gene Ween
The concert, titled Gene Ween Does Billy Joel, took place last weekend in Woodstock with a six-piece band. Ween began with "Prelude/Angry Young Man" from Joel's 1976 album Turnstiles, then continued with a set that included "Captain Jack," "She's Always a Woman," "Big Shot" and the expected set-closer "Piano Man." A three-song encore included "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Me" and "Only the Good Die Young."
"I love Billy Joel, so I had this idea to do a complete cover band," Ween told Fly Magazine. "I’ve been listening to Billy Joel all my life, but I’ve started to study how he sings. He is a really intense singer, so I’m gonna be working on singing with the power and veracity of Billy Joel."
As much as Ween clearly idolizes Joel, he did struggle with the words to the title track to 1977's The Stranger, according to JamBase. But he used some humor to make the best of a bad situation, inserting the lines "f---ing up, I'm f---ing up" inside the forgotten stanza, before cruising back into the lyric.
Ween had been performing under his own name since leaving the Ween band in 2012. He formed the group Freeman last year. The next Gene Ween Does Billy Joel shows are scheduled for May 28 and 31 at the Brooklyn Bowl, and in Philadelphia on May 29.
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