It's been six months since a Billy Joel concert marked the official reopening of the renovated Nassau Coliseum, which got not only a $165 million face-lift, but a new name as well: NYCB Live’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Joel's April 5, 2017, show, his 33rd concert in the arena, marked the first of many memorable events held so far at the revamped Coliseum. Take a look back at its greatest hits so far, with some images and information provided by NYCB Live.
Billy Joel reopens the Coliseum after renovation
It couldn't have been more fitting that Billy Joel reopened the Nassau Coliseum to a sold-out crowd on April 5, 2017, considering it was the first arena he ever played, 40 years earlier. Over the course of nearly three hours, the Piano Man rolled through songs he rarely plays anywhere else -- like "The Downeaster 'Alexa,' " about the plight of Long Island's baymen. The fact that his surprise guests boasted LI roots was the icing on the cake: Long Beach's Joan Jett came on to do "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," and Stony Brook's Kevin James and his "King of Queens" TV "wife," Leah Remini, did an interpretive dance to "She's Got a Way."
Barbra Streisand returns for first LI show in 54 years
It felt like a homecoming as Barbra Streisand played her first concert on Long Island since 1963 on May 4, 2017, at the Coliseum, belting out hits including "The Way We Were," "Being Alive" and the '70s anti-war anthem "Being at War with Each Other." From the stage, Streisand joked that she'd "started to come here five years ago and I got caught in traffic on the Long Island Expressway." (Streisand is pictured here at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Oct. 11, 2012.)
Metallica plays their only nonstadium show on tour
Metallica's sold-out show on May 17, 2017, not only marked the band's only arena stop on their summer tour, but it was the first to really rock the new Coliseum hard. "Strong Island, how do you feel?" singer-guitarist James Hetfield asked the crowd after an opening combination of "Hardwired" and "Atlas Rise" from the band's recent "Hardwired . . . to Self Destruct" album. "There is a little bit of history here," he said of LI. "We've been here a lot."
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performs last show ever
It was bittersweet for "The Greatest Show on Earth" to officially close at Nassau Coliseum after 146 years following a trio of finale performances on May 21, 2017. The grand finale show ended with a standing ovation as ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson brought virtually the entire Ringling troupe onto the floor: nearly 200 human and animal performers including clowns, aerialists, Cossack riders, lions, tigers and more.
Barry Manilow plays to sold-out crowd
Barry Manilow included the Coliseum as one of only three stops on a short tour to promote his new "This Is My Town: Songs of New York" album, selling out the arena with that May 25, 2017, concert. (Los Angeles and Chicago were the other destinations, and ahead of the tour, Manilow said each of the "exciting" cities was "unique and hold[s] very special memories for me.")
Eternal Con expands to Coliseum for fifth anniversary
Long Island's biggest pop culture event, Eternal Con, moved from the Cradle of Aviation to the renovated Coliseum for its fifth anniversary, July 1-2, 2017. An estimated 10,000 fans descended for the annual celebration of comic books, fantasy and sci-fi. The weekend's biggest draw of all? The original Batmobile driven by Adam West.
Boxing makes its return to Long Island
Boxing made its return to Long Island for the first match here in 31 years, on July 15, 2017, at the Nassau Coliseum in front of nearly 7,500 fans. Two Long Islanders stepped into the ring that night, though in different matches: Adam Kownacki, who lives on Long Island and trains in Bellmore, managed a fourth-round TKO of fellow Polish heavyweight Artur Szpilka, and Long Beach light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan was stopped in the second round by Staten Islander Marcus Browne.
LI's Chris Weidman wins at island's first UFC event
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who hails from Baldwin, survived a first-round knockdown by Kelvin Gastelum, coming back to defeat him by submission in the third round of the main event on July 22, 2017. The night marked the first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship matches not only at the Coliseum, but on all of Long Island.
Islanders win preseason game in return to the Coliseum
The Islanders returned home to the Nassau Coliseum (before a sold-out crowd of nearly 14,000, no less), beating the Flyers in overtime during their preseason game on Sept. 17, 2017. John Tavares, who scored to overtake them 3-2, described the atmosphere as "pretty close to what we had in the playoffs. ... It was through the roof in warm-ups. The 'Let's go, Islanders' and 'Yes Yes Yes' chants were prominent. This fan base has a tremendous identity and we want to reward that."
Paul McCartney plays Coliseum with Billy Joel as surprise guest
Paul McCartney packed the best of nearly six decades of his legendary career into his "One on One" tour stop at Nassau Coliseum on Sept. 26, 2017, in which Billy Joel even joined him for part of the encore. For McCartney's first LI show in 15 years, the former Beatle, 75, amazingly rolled through almost three hours of memories with no break.
Professional basketball returns to the Coliseum
The Long Island Nets hosted a free inaugural Tip-Off Party on Oct. 1, 2017, to celebrate professional basketball's return to the Coliseum after a half-century long absence, ahead of the 2017-18 season.