A couple of all-star ballplayers stood in for a hall-of-fame piano man Thursday morning at Target Field, when Joe Mauer and Paul Molitor were on hand to help pitch the Twins’ summer concert date with Billy Joel.
The 67-year-old singer of “Piano Man” and “Uptown Girl” will perform at downtown Minneapolis’ ballpark on Friday, July 28. Tickets go on sale Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster for $49.50-$139.50. Twins season ticket holders can get pre-sale seats starting next Wednesday.
At Thursday’s press conference, Molitor offered a series of pun-filled riffs on Joel’s many hit songs, including “Big Shot,” “You May Be Right” and “My Life.”
“For those of you speculating it was Billy Joel, it’s no longer a case of you may be right — you are right,” the Twins manager quipped. “In my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been around some big shots, and there’s no question [Joel] is a big shot.”
Molitor admitted it was “a first” for him to announce a concert this way, but it wasn’t unusual for Joel. The piano man’s handlers have propped up the fanfare of his past two Twin Cities concerts with similar press conferences, an uncommon method in the business. Not even Paul McCartney’s 2014 gig at the ballpark was announced with such hoopla.
Joel is only the second major rock star to play Target Field in its eight-year run. The Twins have instead relied heavily on country acts such as four-time headliner Kenny Chesney and last year’s big name, the Zac Brown Band.
The Target Field gig joins a string of 2017 tour dates Joel has already announced in baseball stadiums around the country, starting with the first concert at the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park, on April 28. He’s also due to play Chicago’s Wrigley Field on Aug. 11 as well as dates in the Indians, Pirates, Dodgers and Red Sox ballparks.
A die-hard Mets fan from Long Island, N.Y., the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has kept up his chops as a live performer over the past three years with a once-per-month residency gig at Madison Square Garden, plus sporadic dates around the country. However, he hasn’t released a new rock album since 1993, a fact he made light of at his 2015 concert at Target Center.
“I got nothing new,” he told the sold-out crowd. “Same old [expletive]. But there’s a lot of it.”