Billy Joel was supposed to open for Roger McGuinn at their February 8, 1974, concert at Trenton State College. But when some of Joel’s band members and instruments got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because of a snowstorm, the headliner became the opening act. After a two-hour set from McGuinn, and a screening of Reefer Madness to buy more time for Joel’s musicians to arrive, the other future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on the bill that evening took the stage. Joel played his entire Piano Man album as well as many songs from Cold Spring Harbor, thanking those who stuck around for the marathon affair. It “was probably the best concert ever hosted by Trenton State,” Signal reporter David Rago wrote afterward. Do you agree? Write to us at email@example.com with your own concert memories.
The 1974 concert with Billy Joel was phenomenal and one of the best hosted by TSC along with the memorable performances of Springsteen in 1973 and Peter Frampton in 1976. It’s difficult to say which was the best.
I didn’t remember the year of this concert until I saw it in the Alumni magazine, but I surely remember being there. I was surprised to read that Roger McGuinn even performed that night. That wasn’t so memorable. The snow storm, watching “Reefer Madness” and waiting for Billy stand out. It was a surreal experience, almost a mini Woodstock. The fact that a full audience sat and waited for Billy Joel and his band to arrive was amazing. His performance was outstanding and I agree, certainly the best concert I saw at Trenton State.
We had just seen Billy open for for the Dobbie Bros. about a week earlier in Phili. and wouldn’t miss him again. I love the Byrds, but McGuinn was lucky Joel and his band were late. There is no way he could have followed that act! Great show and memories.
How about ELO? They rocked the house! The Chamber Brothers? Al Stewart? Mark Almond? Janis Ian? And what about all the great concerts that were had at the Trenton War Memorial (just a short ride away on Route 29) during 1973 – 1976 or so? Queen!!!!, Manfred Man, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Leo Sayer. Rider College had Gentle Giant who rocked the crowd so much that headliner Dave Mason pulled the plug on them! Never have or will never go see Dave Mason again. Lots of good memories and great music in such intimate settings. I caught Billy Joel at Alexander Hall at Princeton in May of 1974 – opening act was Martin Mull in his wing back chair – back when he was working the comedy circuits. Alexander Hall is a theatre in the round, holding about 500 seats or so – not a bad set in the house – what a fantastic concert, good memories……..
When my boyfriend asked me to go to this concert I said who is Billy Joel. We waited until midnight to see Billy Joel and it was the best ever. Will never forget it!