PORTLAND, Maine — Billy Joel turned 70 years old on Thursday.
The world-class musician, known for countless megahits such as "Piano Man" (1973), "Uptown Girl" (1983) and "We Didn't Start the Fire" (1989), among several others, used to visit Maine much more frequently during the '90s.
In fact, he kicked off his 1993 tour in Portland.
Joel performed at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday, Sept. 10, 1993, and NEWS CENTER Maine's Rob Caldwell interviewed him.
Rob asked him why he chose to launch the tour in Portland, to which he responded, "Well, you gotta start someplace. I've been up to Maine many times," Joel said, "and it's a nice place to be. I hate to rehearse, but as long as I gotta rehearse, I might as well be someplace I like, right?"
Joel played five songs from his 12th studio album "River of Dreams," released exactly a month prior on Aug. 10. Twenty days later on Aug. 30, 11 days before the Portland show, he was on the "Late Show with David Letterman."
He told Rob that "River of Dreams," which features some dark moments, was shaped in part by some surprising influences:
"I listened to the Beethoven symphonies before I did this album, just to try to get under Beethoven's skin and find out what he was thinking and feeling when he wrote. I realized that even a titanic genius like Beethoven had his down days, but he wrote on his down days and expressed what he was feeling. That's what an artist is supposed to do. That's why I was listening."
From Portland, the then 44-year-old played Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, Connecticut, "Saturday Night Live," Worcester, update New York, Illinois, Cincinnati, the other Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas
He closed out the year back home in Long Island, New York.
Here's his setlist from that night via setlist.fm:
- A Matter of Trust
- No Man's Land
- Goodnight Saigon
- New York State of Mind
- All About Soul
- An Innocent Man
- My Life
- I Go to Extremes
- Prelude/Angry Young Man
- The Downeaster Alexa
- Shades of Grey
- Big Man on Mulberry Street
- Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
- The River of Dreams
- Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
- Only the Good Die Young
- You May Be Right
- We Didn't Start the Fire
- Big Shot
- Piano Man