Billy Joel’s ‘Authentic Rock and Roll F— Up’ and His Response [Video]
We never did like the wise-asses who cheered derisively when a kid dropped his lunch tray in the cafeteria. So instead of focusing on how Billy Joel briefly messed up the tongue-twisting lyrics to his 1989 hit ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ in concert earlier this week, can we instead talk about how wonderfully he reacted?
As you can see above, about 30 seconds into performing the song in Toronto on March 9, Joel loses his place, quickly stops his band and addresses the crowd. First off, it’s good to know that there are no backing tracks that needed to be shut off along with the drums, keyboards and guitars. And it’s also refreshing to see that, unlike many performers of his era these days, Joel doesn’t use a TelePrompter in case moments like these arise.
But more importantly, Joel handled the moment with humor and self-deprecation, calling ‘Fire’ “One of the worst melodies I ever wrote,” and explaining why it’s so easy to get lost singing it: “It’s the same thing, verse after verse. Just the words change.” Then, after briefly considering skipping the song altogether, he starts it over and everybody goes home happy. And let’s also give full credit to his band, who kick back into the song without missing a step.