TRIBUTE: Veteran Adelaide singer and entertainer Anthony Mara will be joined on stage by a talented five-piece band to present a tribute to Billy Joel’s career, which has spanned more than 50 years.

By JOHN DOOLEY

BILLY Joel fans and lovers of live music are in for a feast when ‘Piano Man’, the Billy Joel tribute concert, plays the Mildura Arts Centre on Saturday, April 21.

Heading the line-up is veteran Adelaide singer and entertainer Anthony Mara, who will be joined on stage by a talented five-piece band to present a tribute to the American’s stellar singing career spanning more than 50 years.

“I’m fortunate to have some of the best musicians in Australia backing me, and that was also a feature of Billy Joel’s performances, and so we needed to make sure we had something that was up to that standard,” Anthony said.

“The songs we perform are always enjoyed by the audience, we do all the famous Billy Joel songs and as we go through the list, I talk about some of the songs – the stories behind them and Billy Joel’s life.”

The national touring tribute show is billed as a unique and outstanding concert experience that chronologically shares the journey of a remarkable career – the highs, the lows, private and public life, family and relationships, and above all, the music.

The Mildura concert is part of a nationwide tour that commenced last year.

“The show was launched last year with performances in four of the major capital cities and they were great, but I really wanted to take it regionally this year to the country towns,” Anthony said.

“One thing led to another, and we’ve now got the national tour under way, and the response has been fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to returning to Mildura for this concert.”

Anthony said venue managers who have seen clips of the show had been “very impressed.”

“When we approached venues they were blown away by it, and so we are fortunate to be able to stage it in so many venues across the country,” he said.

Anthony 42, who was born and bred in Adelaide, said music has been a part of his life since his early teens, saying he found great inspiration in Billy Joel’s music.

Anthony was given some bad news 18 months ago in the form of a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, which has led him to donate part of the proceeds from his tour to the MS Foundation.

“At the time of the diagnosis I didn’t really know much about the condition and I’m still learning what it’s all about,” he said. “I’m managing the situation quite well at the moment, and with the prospect of improved treatment and possibly even a cure on the horizon, I am confident I can continue with my music for a long time to come.

“The idea of donating to the MS Foundation is one I am very pleased to be able to do, and hopefully it can help with research into the disease and lead to a cure being found.”

Anthony said new audiences are discovering Billy Joel and his music.

“Billy Joel sort of re-invented himself in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, right through to the ‘90s, and so he is broadly appealing, he has a strong array of different age groups who like his music,” he said.

“The younger generation of today probably don’t know his music because he hasn’t released anything for 25 years, but those who do come along to the show just love it and become instant fans, we’re creating a whole new class of Billy Joel devotees.”

It’s 45 years since Billy Joel’s signature song Piano Man was released, and in addition to this, the show will feature stacks of his other well-known hits including ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘For The Longest Time’, ‘Just The Way You Are’, ‘My Life’ and ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’.

For more information or to make a booking, contact the Mildura Arts Centre on 5018 8330, or visit www.milduraartscentre.com.au.