While Billy Joel has continued to draw huge crowds throughout his unprecedented residency at Madison Square Garden in New York City, he’s about to hit a milestone that seems fairly far fetched. At some point after the tickets become available for his 55th performance at the venerable venue on Monday, he’ll pass a million tickets sold since he began playing a show a month at the Garden.
His residency, the first of its kind at Madison Square Garden, began in December 2013. Since that time, he has performed a show every month in the city just across the East River from his Long Island base of operations. He has also continued a regular schedule of touring stops throughout the country, including a run of shows at ballparks through the summer, and a New Years Eve show in Sunrise, Florida. This summer, he will perform, among other stops on his ballpark tour, the first concert at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium since REO Speedwagon played the Royals’ home in 1979.
But MSG has become a sort of base of operations for Joel, who has received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the ACSCAP Centennial Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, numerous Grammy Awards, and a Tony Award through his career. In 2016, his song “Piano Man” was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the Nationla Recording Registry for it’s “Cultural, Historic, and Artistic Significance.” His monthly stops have seen sellouts throughout the run, amounting to a truly remarkable number of tickets sold.
For perspective, the New York Knicks – who share a common home address – were the 5th-best attended team for the 2016-2017 NBA season Over those 41 home dates, they drew 810,741, an average of 19,774 per game. Joel’s run of 55 shows will pass a million at an average of just over 18,100 per show (and that’s not counting however many additional seats sell for that No. 55 once it passes the million mark).
Joel has drawn on a catalog of some of the most popular songs of a generation to continue fueling his crowds in New York, despite the fact that he has not released a pop record since 1993’s River of Dreams. His last non-live release was 2001’s Fantasies & Delusions, an album of his classical compositions, performed by Richard Hyung-ki Joo.