Elton John, Billy Joel, and the Barnsider – Evening in Review
Bob and I (and our friends Ken & Barb) FINALLY got to see the Elton John/Billy Joel concert that we’ve been waiting for – almost a year after purchasing the tickets! They cancelled two earlier dates, and finally made it to the Times Union Center in Albany on March 11. We had a great night! Bob had the BRILLIANT idea (no sarcasm here) of getting a limo for the evening, which ensured we wouldn’t have to worry about parking in Downtown Albany – a challenge on even the best night.
Our driver, Dan, whisked us from our house to The Barnsider on Sand Creek Road in Albany for a pre-show dinner. If you like steak and seafood, then this is the place for you. The large menu features lots of beef, shellfish, and many combinations of the two, with two or three chicken dishes mixed in for those of us not interested in the surf or the turf. Every dinner includes a trip to their salad bar, which is nothing special, but not too bad, either.
Bob and I ordered the Bacon Beef Wellington appetizer: beef tenderloin tips wrapped in bacon,served in puff pastry shells with a cabernet and caramelized onion demi-glace. It was fantastic – the tenderloins were fork-tender, and the pastry was flaky and perfect. The demi-glace was sweet and rich, and I practically licked the plate clean. For our entrees, Bob chose his customary prime rib, and I ordered the chicken feature: chicken breast stuffed with chorizo sausage. Nothing outstanding, but perfectly delicious.
The only issue we had with The Barnsider was the sloooooow service. We made a 5:45pm reservation, early enough (we thought) to be able to get to the show by 7:30pm. Our first waiter (can’t remember his name) took our drink orders, and promptly disappeared, never to be seen again. Luckily, Barb is outspoken, and got the attention of another waiter (Jake), who took over our table without missing a beat. But, the clock kept ticking, and by 7:10 we still had not received our food. After telling Jake that we had to get out of there pronto, our food magically appeared (along with the check). We quickly ate our food – which I loathe having to do – and rushed out to our waiting limo (I love saying that). No time for dessert or coffee, but thankfully we had some champagne in the limo…
We managed to get to the concert during the second song of the first set of Elton and Billy at their dueling pianos. After a minor kerfuffle with two drunk people and two confused old ladies who were sitting in our seats, we settled down to a very enjoyable show. Elton John was great, but Billy Joel is my man. Every song (except his really early stuff) conjures up a memory for me, mostly happy. Though, I did shed a few tears during “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”, which brought back some images from a former life.
Billy was a in a giddy mood, fooling around with a slide whistle at one point, and then putting a towel on his head during “Uptown Girl”. This was his last show with Sir Elton (“His Majesty”, he called him once) and his excitement to be at the end of the tour was clearly evident. At one point, he donned an electric guitar and pulled his roadie Chainsaw up on stage, who proceeded to sing a very loud rendition of “Highway to Hell”. Billy did this same stunt the last time he was in town, but it was still funny.
All in all, a terrific night with great friends. Images from the concert after the jump…