Joel and Patty Smyth smack ex-Trump administration staff during performance of “Goodbye to You”
On his 43rd sold out show at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel took an unprecedented step when he appeared on stage wearing a suit with two yellow Stars of David , one on the front left breast and the other at the back. While the patches reminded concert goers and netizens of the yellow badges used to identify Jews in Nazi Germany, Billy Joel was protesting the rise of neo-Nazi sentiments and President Trump’s actions following the Charlottesville incident.
While the move led to interesting reactions online, it is unusual for the singer, as he commented in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I try to stay out of politics. I am a private citizen, and I have a right to believe in my political point of view, but I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think."
At the sold out concert, Billy Joel invited singer Patty Smyth to perform her 1982 Scandal hit song “Goodbye to You” with him. During the song the display behind them showed pictures of former Trump White House staffers including Sean Spicer (Press Secretary), Anthony Scaramucci (Former Communications Adviser) and Steve Bannon (Former Strategic Adviser).
Billy Joel brought Patty Smyth on stage for "Goodbye to You" at MSG and had a montage featuring Spicer, Mooch, Bannon, etc.
— Matt Eisenberg (@matteisenberg42) August 22, 2017
Photos of Billy Joel flooded Facebook and Twitter, eliciting different reactions. Some termed his actions as ‘epic and brave,' while others called him ‘a true hero.' Joel’s ex-wife Katie Lee commented, “Truly in awe of my former husband @billyjoel wearing the yellow Star of David at his concert at MSG last night. He is an incredible man and what a way to take a stand. He continues to inspire me, and I hope he does to each and every one of you."
Billy Joel doing is encores at MSG on 8/21 wearing one Jewish Star on his breast and another on his back. He is a true hero. pic.twitter.com/M42f6P1f8J
— Eric Schultz (@EBS9291) August 22, 2017
Other Twitter users were not so kind, with one user tweeting, “What is Billy Joel protesting? A president with part Jewish kids? The fact that Muslim immigrants in the US tend to be anti-semitic? WHAT!?”
While Billy Joel’s parents are Jewish, he has often been described as a secular Jew and an atheist. Neither Joel nor his representatives were available for comment after the concert.