January 22, 2013

Big Red Ambition #106: See a Concert at Barton Hall

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That awkward moment when Billy Joel can’t take you to your sorority’s formal because he has a flight to catch…

Today, we’re going to talk about #106 (See a concert at Barton Hall). Except we’re not going to talk about Barton, we’re going to talk about seeing a concert in Bailey Hall, specifically a Billy Joel concert.

Since middle school, I have been obsessed with both Billy Joel and Elton John. I saw Elton in concert my freshman year of high school, and, to the amusement of most of my family, remain just as obsessed with Billy and Elton today as I was 10 years ago (holy crap, I’m old).

Needless to say, when I heard that Billy Joel was coming to Cornell (on the same night as my sorority formal) my first thought was, “Imma cut someone if I don’t get tickets,” (my second thought was, “Jeez, someone should really reschedule formal”) and in a miraculous turn of events, I managed to get tickets— yay.

As I mentioned, this concert took place on the night of my formal, and the whole event was meant to be an evening to ask Billy Joel questions about his music, himself, etc. Well, I saw an opportunity there and started telling people that I was going to ask Billy Joel to formal. To be perfectly honest, at that point, I was just saying it to be funny, but then things took a turn.

It’s the night of the concert, and, magically, my seats were next to my Big’s and Billy Joel clearly had a top-notch sense of humor. Throughout the night, people kept requesting songs, and after he played the first verse of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” he stopped because he needed “that one person who memorized the whole song” (ahem, that’s me) sitting in the front row to mouth the words to him. I decided I was going to request my own song.

My friend who I was sitting with yelled to get Billy’s attention (yes, we’re totally on a first name basis), and he called on me. So my first point of order was to request he play “Vienna,” because it is one of the best songs ever (that actually just came on iTunes as I am writing this sentence…creepy). As he was about to play it, I basically blurted out, “Will you come to my sorority’s formal tonight?”

Well, the Piano Man himself seemed a bit flustered and was all “um, as a date or to play it?” To which I was just like, “Both please.” This went back and forth for a little bit, but since he was being all fancy and flying home, he had to decline…and then went on to tell the crowd about all of the keggers he went to when he was in college.

Well, I know that is definitely not the average way to check off #106, but we go to Cornell; have you ever heard of it? I think it’s only appropriate that we strive for excellence in completing the Big Red Ambition List.

Original Author: Jaime Freilich