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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Music icons take stage at Gillette Stadium

Arlo Matthews / Journal Contributor
Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks performed at Gillette Stadium on Sept.23.

American classic rock icons Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks teamed up on Sept. 23 for a performance at Gillette Stadium, the sixth show in their limited run together.

Each artist performed a separate set of their classics, with Nicks’ opening set being around an hour and a half and Joel’s coming closer to the two-hour mark.

Despite fears of a weather-related cancellation, the concert started promptly and went almost entirely uninterrupted. A defiant Nicks opened with the poignant “Outside the Rain,” and led directly into the groovy Fleetwood Mac number, “Dreams,” before sharing her concerns about how the sound system may be affected by the ongoing rain.

This would prove to be a recurring issue throughout the night, as monitors went out for a portion of “Gold Dust Woman” and made Joel pause in the middle of his opening song, “My Life,” to sort out a technical issue with the piano.

But the weather and sound problems didn’t water down any of the pair’s performance, as emphasized when Joel filled Tom Petty’s role with Nicks for the fourth song of her set, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” entering the stage with an umbrella in hand.

These moments throughout Nicks’ set showcased her focus on honoring her former bandmates and collaborators. Nicks would go on to perform a cover of Petty’s signature song, “Free Fallin,’”  later in the set with an accompanying slideshow. She then closed with “Landslide” as a tribute to Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie, who passed away earlier this year.

While Joel and Nicks had never collaborated before this run of shows, their combined presence was certainly welcomed in Foxborough. Zoe Rodriguez, a Suffolk student and attendee of the concert, praised the duo’s exceptional chemistry and stage presence. seemed to sum up the crowd’s feeling very well.

“Seeing two icons live was such an incredible experience, and being so far up didn’t even bother me,” said Rodriguez.

Other setlist highlights from Nicks’ performance included “Stand Back,” “Rhiannon,” the show-stopping “Edge of Seventeen” and the aforementioned “Gold Dust Woman,” where she didn’t miss a note despite not being able to hear the music.

Joel came on shortly after Nicks’ set with a seemingly loose and upbeat tone compared to Nicks’ stoic performance. Joel seemingly embraced the rain much more, delivering impromptu performances of “Rain” by The Beatles and “Crying in the Rain” by The Everly Brothers early on in the set.

This tone carried on to the rest of the night, with Joel launching into songs like “The Downeaster ‘Alexa,’” a debut for this run of shows, as well as incorporating covers of Led Zeppelin and The Regents into his songs.

Joel’s set, unfortunately, did not feature any guest appearances from Nicks, a part of the performance that seems to have been dropped since the first of these six shows they’ve done.

But even without that collaboration, it was clear that Joel was keen on showcasing the talents of others in his band as well, giving them plenty of room to breathe and take extended solos during songs like “The River of Dreams,” “Just the Way You Are” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” The acapella showcase of doo-wop throwback “The Longest Time” accentuated this, showing that even though they’re willing to have a little fun, the band is still as tight as ever.

Joel capped off the night with a five-song encore, consisting of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Uptown Girl,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Big Shot” and “You May Be Right” all played back-to-back.

Attendance stayed strong throughout the whole concert, and many were out of their seats and dancing in the rain throughout the whole show.

“I was so excited to see Billy Joel – listening to him perform ‘Vienna’ was something that I’ll never forget and honestly very little could have topped that,” said Rodriguez.

Joel and Nicks will continue to make select appearances together across the U.S. in the coming months, with four more shows scheduled to take place so far.

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