It was a somber weekend for the Billy Joel camp, and the piano man responded in kind during his monthly performance on Saturday (November 18) at Madison Square Garden.
Joel dedicated the concert to Jeff Shock, his former manager who was serving as Joel’s archivist in recent years, spearheading the A Matter Of Trust: The Bridge To Russia box set and other projects.
Shock died on Thursday (November 16) at the age of 64 and had been with Joel’s camp for 41 years. Prior to play “Vienna” at Saturday’s show, Joel told the crowd that, “Tonight is a different night for all of us. We lost a member of our musical family, our longtime family, this past couple of days, and this is a different kind of show.”
Dedicating the concert to Shock, Joel said, “He’s been with me since 1976. He was a tour manager, art director, he was in record promotion, management, production, you name it he did it. He was a big, tall guy. He used to roam around in front of the stage taking pictures of everybody, and you might have seen him if you’ve seen our shows before. Anyway, we’re gonna miss him a lot.”
Joel also posted a Facebook message calling Shock, “a generous spirit in our longtime musical family — ever the enthusiast, always optimistic. He loved the roar of the crowd and he took such pride in our success — (Even when we lost sight of what a miracle it all was — and still is) His kinetic energy and his constant good cheer will be missed by all of us. He was a caring man and a dear friend. And it’s hard to say goodbye.”
During the show Joel also paid tribute to AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, who died that day, with his frequent rendition of the group’s “Highway To Hell.”
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.