Billy Joel will play the final concert at Nassau Coliseum, closing down the Uniondale arena with an appearance on Aug. 4.
The show marks Joel’s 32nd appearance at the venue, where a banner with his name still hangs from the rafters commemorating his record-setting run of nine sold-out shows there in 1998 during the Hicksville native’s tour to support his “Greatest Hits, Vol. 3” album.
Tickets are $49.50, $99.50 and $119.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. on May 1 through Ticketmaster. American Express cardholders can buy a limited number of pre-sale tickets starting at 10 a.m. Monday.
Joel’s concert will be the first show at the Coliseum handled by Forest City Ratner executive chairman Bruce Ratner and the final event before it closes for renovations. The arena is set to reopen in December 2016.
Nassau Events Center, a Forest City affiliate created to manage the Coliseum project, is spending $260 million to renovate and downsize the arena to 13,000 seats and build an adjacent retail and entertainment complex.
Brett Yormark, chief executive of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who will oversee the Coliseum project, said there was never any doubt which musician would close out the 43-year-old arena.
“Billy Joel is Long Island,” Yormark said. “He was the only artist we looked at.”
Exclusive subscription offer
Newsday covers the stories that matter most to Long Islanders. We dig deep to uncover the facts, hold the powerful in check and keep a watchful eye on Long Island.
Your digital subscription, starting at $1, supports local journalism vital to the community.SUBSCRIBE NOW
Yormark said the concert will serve as a way for Long Islanders to say goodbye to the old arena while giving residents a preview of things to come.
“We look at this as closing one chapter and then establishing a new one,” he said.
The Aug. 4 show will be the first time Joel has performed at the Coliseum since 2002. His only other Long Island concert since then was in 2013 when his rehearsals at The Paramount in Huntington turned into a surprise show.
Joel showed his skill at handling historic moments when he performed the final concerts at Shea Stadium in 2008, star-studded events that ended with Paul McCartney, who performed the first song at the stadium with The Beatles, leading the final song at Shea with Joel and his band. Those shows became the basis of the well-received documentary “Last Play at Shea.”
Ratner first hinted at Joel handling the Coliseum’s farewell in June 2013, as he pitched his Coliseum renovation proposal to the Long Island Real Estate Group. Ratner said at the time that he had polled Long Islanders about who they wanted to see play at the renovated arena and that Joel was the overwhelming favorite.
Around that time, Joel said he would be interested in playing the Coliseum one final time, but was unsure whether the scheduling could be worked out. Since then, Joel launched a monthly residency at Madison Square Garden that has already been extended through the end of 2015 and is also touring stadiums this summer, including Fenway Park in Boston and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. He will also headline the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in June. However, he found the time for the final Coliseum show.
Some details of the concert remain uncertain, Yormark said, including the identity of an opening act.
Yormark said it’s also unclear who will staff the concert. More than 2,500 full and part-time Coliseum employees received notification from the state Department of Labor last week that they would be laid off by July 31, when Pennsylvania-based Spectator Management Group’s lease with Nassau County to run the arena expires.
“Billy Joel represents the years of joy the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has brought to residents and serves as an exciting reminder of the decades of entertainment our residents will enjoy in the soon to be renovated coliseum,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement.