Review: Elio Pace brings Billy Joel’s music to Ipswich with Corn Exchange concert

Elio Pace performing live. Library image.

Elio Pace performing live. Library image. - Credit: Contributed

Elio Pace, along with his talented band, provided a rousing and accurate rendition of Billy Joel’s hits – and some lesser known album tracks – in a concert suitable for both die-hard fans of the Piano Man and those new to the American star’s music.

The musicians were on their last night of a 50 date Billy Joel Songbook tour and it showed, with slick performances which were both spot-on and included humour from between band members.

Pace’s passion for Billy Joel was clear, both in the energy he gave and in the stories he told about how he fell in love with the singer/songwriter as well as the anecdotes involving how some of the tracks came to life.

If criticism had to be made of the show it would be that at times Pace let these tales go on too long, at risk of the audience beginning to feel they were at a lecture on Billy Joel rather than a concert, but nonetheless they were enjoyable and interesting.

All of the classic hits were on the playlist, from Uptown Girl and Piano Man to Just the Way You Are, though for me the best song of the evening was Don’t Ask Me Why where the band and Pace’s enthusiasm peaked and really brought the track to life.

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Along with the stories from Pace, the inclusion of more obscure tracks such as Root Beer Rag and Lullaby and the wide range of songs taken from Joel’s many genres meant the evening made an excellent introduction to people who had not heard much of Joel before, while appealing to those with different preferences from his long musical career.

From quiet beginnings, by the end of the night everyone in the audience was up on their feet, and if they did not know the words to sing along they clapped instead.

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Pace is set to announce in the coming weeks another 40-plus date tour of the Billy Joel Songbook next year, with the promise of some new songs – and I would certainly recommend it to anyone.

Will Lodge watched Elio Pace: The Billy Joel Songbook at Ipswich Corn Exchange on Saturday November 21.

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