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Billy Joel begins Madison Square Garden residency

by The Associated Press on January 28, 2014 10:50 AM

NEW YORK — Piano man Billy Joel began his Madison Square Garden residency Monday night with an energetic show that covered a wide swath of music from his five-decade career.

Shortly before 9 p.m., Joel and his band came out to thunderous applause and launched into “Miami 2017,” a song Joel wrote in the early 1970s about post-apocalyptic New York City. His performance officially put him in the record books as the fourth franchise of the famed venue, which includes the Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty.

Throughout the evening, Joel seemed to touch on at least one song from most of his studio albums. The only notable omission was 1989’s “Storm Front.”

While he didn’t hold back on the classics like “New York State of Mind” and “Allentown,” Joel also performed the lesser played tracks “The Entertainer” and “Zanzibar” that included a sultry trumpet solo by Carl Fischer.

Joel performed the a capella “The Longest Time,” and after he finished said: “It sounds better in a men’s room.” And when he introduced “Everybody Loves You Now,” as a song from his first album, “Cold Spring Harbor,” he told the audience: “I doubt you have it. I don’t have it.”

Throughout the night, the 64-year old musician maintained a strong stage presence and his voice never seemed to waiver. For most of the night, though, he remained seated at his baby grand piano; on previous tours Joel would play guitar and organ and run around the stage. He did manage to leave the piano during the encore to perform “You May Be Right,” opting to work the microphone stand.

Early in the show, the piano man acknowledged the first night of the franchise shows and his long career.

“I have no idea how long this is going to go,” he told the crowd. “2014 is my 50th year in show business. What was I thinking?”

He also poked fun at himself when he saw his face on the video screen, remarking that he never imagined he would look like his father.

“I thought I was gonna look like Cary Grant,” he joked to the crowd.

For the last song of the set, he channeled Derek and the Dominos by playing the piano coda from “Layla,” before launching into “Piano Man.” He even altered the lyric toward the end to reflect the evening by saying: “It’s a pretty good crowd for a Monday night,” to enthusiastic cheers.

Perhaps the evening’s most poignant performance was the spirited version of “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” that had the entire arena singing along, and even waving during the line, “Here we are waving Brenda and Eddie goodbye.”

By the last of four encores, “Only the Good Die Young,” the fans seemed fulfilled, raving about the show as they left. For many of them, this clearly wasn’t the first time they’d seen the performer, and during the franchise run, it probably won’t be their last.

The Grammy Award-winning icon announced in December that he would perform at Madison Square Garden every month for as long as New Yorkers demand. He’s set to perform sold-out shows until September with more being added later in the year.

His May 9 show commemorates his 65th birthday.

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LOS ANGELES — Quentin Tarantino sued the news and gossip website Gawker on Monday over a post that directed readers to a leaked copy of the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s latest movie.

Tarantino’s lawsuit accuses Gawker Media LLC of contributory copyright infringement for posting a link to the 146-page script for a planned film titled “The Hateful Eight” last week. A link to the script was posted on Gawker’s Defamer blog and remained active Monday afternoon, despite demands from Tarantino’s lawyers to take it down, the lawsuit states.

“There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of (Tarantino’s) copyright in the screenplay, and it’s conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity,” the lawsuit states.

Gawker Editor-in-Chief John Cook said the company would fight the lawsuit and pointed out that the company was being sued for posting a link to the script, not the actual document.

“News of the fact that it existed on the Internet advanced a story that Tarantino himself had launched, and our publication of the link was a routine and unremarkable component of our job: making people aware of news and information about which they are curious,” Cook said.

Tarantino is also suing an anonymous file-sharing site that is linked in the post for copyright infringement. The contributory copyright infringement claim against Gawker contends the site’s link allowed more people to find the script and infringe Tarantino’s copyright by downloading and copying it.

The writer-director blasted the leak last week in an interview with Deadline. com and said he would abandon the project as a film. His lawsuit states he planned to publish the screenplay and that practice in the past has earned him hefty royalties and advances. His lawsuit states his damages as a result of the Gawker post will be more than $1 million.

The leak of Tarantino’s script was initially limited to a few people, his lawsuit states, and “The Hateful Eight” script did not appear online until after Gawker posted an item encouraging anyone who had a copy to leak it to them.

Tarantino has won screenwriting two Academy Awards for his films “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained.” He also received best director Oscar nominations for “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds.”

In October 2012, former wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with the wife of his best friend. A Florida judge ordered the site to remove footage, story and comments about the video, but a state appellate court overturned that order Jan. 17 after determining the ruling violated the First Amendment.

Tarantino’s lawsuit was first reported Monday by The Hollywood Reporter.

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