Friday, July 11, 2008

OFF TOPIC: Roller Coasters and Billy Joel with Liza

My daughter Liza turned 17 this week and she got her driver's license on her birthday. I'm both very excited and a little freaked out. She can't be 17 already, can she?

In order to properly celebrate the momentous occasion, I flipped her the car keys yesterday morning and we headed out for a father/daughter day.

The weather was a perfect 85 and Sunny as Liza drove us to Hershey PA for a day of roller coasters at HersheyPark and a night of Billy Joel at HersheyPark Stadium. This marks my fourth Billy Joel concert over the years...but was Liza's first chance to see him in action.

After arriving at HersheyPark, we quickly headed over to check out the brand new roller coaster: Fahrenheit. While Fahrenheit is a good new coaster, our favorite of the day was easily Storm Runner which launches you from 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds....what a rush!

We rode all the major rides during the day and grabbed a bite to eat...and some yummy funnel cake...before walking over to HersheyPark Stadium for the concert. We couldn't wait for the show to start...especially after hearing him warm up earlier in the afternoon.

I have to admit, it is pretty cool (and a little strange) having a daughter who likes Billy Joel as much as I do. I mean, the dude is 59 years old and hasn't made a new album in over 15 years. BUT his songs are CLASSICS, so that helps explain how he is able to bridge the generation gap.

Before the concert started, we debated what song he would open up with. I figured it had to be an upbeat maybe "We Didn't Start The Fire" or "Only The Good Die Young". Liza thought he'd start with "Miami 2017" (aka "Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway"), which is one of my favorites...but a bit obscure for the average maybe not.

Anyhow, Liza was dead on; Billy Joel kicked off the concert with Miami 2017, followed quickly by the amazing "Angry Young Man" do his fingers move so fast on the piano???

Liza almost passed out when Billy Joel started playing her favorite: "Don't Ask Me Why"

Ever the performer, Billy Joel rattled off a range of hits as well as a few of his obscure classics (for the true fans in the audience). His encore ended, as expected, with the classic "Piano Man". There is simply NOTHING like listening to a stadium full of people singing this just leaves you with goose bumps. Very cool!

Alas, all great days must come to an end. So at 11:30pm, we headed out on our 2 hour drive home. We reminisced about the great thrill rides we enjoyed during the day....but mostly we just turned up the volume on the car stereo and listened to more Billy Joel songs the whole way home.

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