"We have some exciting news, as the Piano Man is returning to our world-class ballpark," said Phillies executive vice president Michael Stiles. "This will be the fifth time that legendary artist Billy Joel will take to the stage, where he will once again have the distinct honor of performing at Citizens Bank Park more often than any other entertainer."
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Playing at baseball venues is nothing new to Joel, but never before has he scheduled so many ballpark concerts in one calendar year. Joel has so far announced five concerts, including the show in Philadelphia: May 14 at Petco Park in San Diego; July 1 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh; Aug. 18 at Fenway Park in Boston; and Aug. 26 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. More are expected to be announced in the near future.
Previously, the most ballparks Joel had played in one season was four. In 2014, he played in D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Last summer, he again visited Fenway Park, Citizens Bank Park and Wrigley Field, and he added a show at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Joel's first ballpark show was in June 1990, when played at Yankee Stadium during his Storm Front tour. Joel also famously "closed down" Shea Stadium in 2008, playing two sold-out concerts in July to commemorate the Mets' final season in that ballpark. The concerts were featured in a 2010 documentary "The Last Play at Shea," and they included guest appearances by Tony Bennett, Don Henley, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney.
Joel also sang the national anthem at Citi Field prior to Game 3 of the 2015 World Series between the Mets and Kansas City Royals.
"I still get psyched when I'm going to a professional ballgame, whether I'm singing or not," Joel said. "I'm honored they ask me to do these things, the national anthem, playing at the Garden all the time. I've had an incredible life. I'm not ready to leave, yet, though."
Joel's first Mets anthem performance occurred in 1986, when he had just released his album "The Bridge." In 2000, his performance at Yankee Stadium prior to Game 1 of the Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets concluded with a bald eagle flying in from center field.
In December 2013, Joel became Madison Square Garden's first music franchise, joining the ranks of the storied venue's other original franchises, the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty. Since January 2014, Joel has played one show per month at The Garden as part of the Time Warner Cable Concert Series. This unprecedented and wildly successful residency has led to 30 sold-out shows through June of this year.
Joel has sold 150 million records over the past quarter century and ranks as one of most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in history. The singer, songwriter and composer is the sixth-best-selling recording artist of all time and the third best-selling solo artist, and he is one of the highest-grossing touring artists in the world.
Joel's career has spanned five decades, during which time he has won six Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ('99) and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In '13, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts.
In 2014, Joel received both The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which honors living musical artists' lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, and the once-in-a-century ASCAP Centennial Award, which is presented to American music icons in recognition of their incomparable accomplishments in their respective music genres and beyond.