Billy Joel’s Stadium Run Continues For Seventh Straight Year

Billy Joel
Greg Allen /
– Billy Joel
Billy Joel celebrates his 70th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. on May 9.

Billy Joel, one of the all-time great touring artists with one of the all-time great late-career touring stories, has announced his seventh straight year of touring stadiums. Joel and his band will set up primarily in secondary and tertiary markets, many of which don’t hold concerts on a consistent basis.

The new set of dates include Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (April 18); Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., where Joel will become the first non-country artist to play there and the second ever (June 20); New Era Field in Buffalo, N.Y. (Aug. 15); and the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati (Sept. 11).

“He’s played a lot of the big markets,” Joel’s longtime agent Dennis Arfa of Artists Group International told Pollstar, “but now he’s really going into secondary markets – the Charlottes, the South Bends and the Buffalos. He’s already played Kansas City and Green Bay, and not many people have played those venues either.”

In addition, Joel will play Detroit’s Comerica Park (July 10) and Mexico City’s Foro Sol (March 6). The latter venue was No. 1 on VenuesNow’s Top 100 Outdoor/Stadium Venues chart in 2018 with 887,802 tickets sold.

The Piano Man will also return to Boston’s Fenway Park on Aug. 28, marking his seventh consecutive year playing the historic ballpark.  

Joel, who turned 70 in May – and celebrated the occasion with yet another sold-out show at frequent Manhattan haunt Madison Square Garden – has seen his career explode in recent years. Over the past two years, he’s grossed an average of $3.39 million per show, according to Pollstar Boxoffice reports. His highest individual grosses over that period were a $6.5 million haul at London’s Wembley Stadium in June 2019, and more than $6 million apiece at Baltimore’s Camden Yards and at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester, England.

Joel placed highly on Pollstar‘s Year End Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart every year from 2014 to 2018, grossing a total of $371.3 million over that period for an annual average of $74.3 million. Last year, Joel’s $70.3 million gross landed him at No. 22 on the chart.

It’s all the more amazing considering that for most of his career he never played the biggest venues. “Throughout his 40-plus year career he never played stadiums,” Arfa said. “Now he’s doing stadiums and selling them out. And what’s even crazier he’s done it all without a new record since ’93.” That speaks to the power and massive appeal of his hit-filled catalog.

“I’m actually getting used to it,” Joel told Pollstar in a May cover story when reflecting on playing stadiums. “For a long time I didn’t really feel like I was a stadium act, even though I was playing stadiums. I said, ‘Why are all these people coming to see this piano player? I don’t even move around that much.’ But now, it’s like our sixth year of playing Fenway Park, Wrigley Field or Philadelphia, big baseball stadiums, and now I get it. OK, we can do this. And it’s a spectacle. I sort of feel like a gladiator. I dig the bigness of it.”

Even more outlandish is Joel’s record-breaking monthly residency at Madison Square Garden, where he’ll perform on Jan. 25, Feb. 20 and March 19. Last week, Joel completed his 70th consecutive monthly show at the Manhattan venue, which was also his mind-boggling 116th career performance at the historic arena.  

While Arfa says there are more announcements to come, he can’t yet discuss them but says they’re venues “he hasn’t played at in over a decade. When asked if it’s a football or baseball stadium, an international market or secondary market, the esteemed agent won’t say, but it could easily be any one of them.

“I show Billy what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, and he’s the guy that says ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” Arfa told Pollstar in a July 2018 cover story about his decades-long career with Joel. “He’ll ask me questions like, ‘Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that?  Why are we charging this? What are you thinking is the next move?’ I always come to him with a strategy and the reason we’re doing something, so he understands my thinking and I understand his and so I can execute it the way he would.”

Find Joel’s 2020 tour dates below.

January 10 – Hard Rock Live – Hollywood, FL
January 25 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
February 7 – Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL
February 20 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
March 6 – Foro Sol – Mexico City
March 19 – Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
April 18 – Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC
June 20 – Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, IN
July 10 – Comerica Park – Detroit, MI
August 15 – New Era Field – Buffalo, NY
August 28 – Fenway Park – Boston, MA
September 11 – Great American Ball Park Cincinnati, OH