By “Olivia” I mean Olivia Rodrigo, though it was my Olivia who first introduced me to the latter’s music. They share something in common besides their given name, and that’s a love of Billy Joel. My Olivia came back to Houston from college to see Billy Joel with us at Minute Maid Park in September, but she’s still a little salty about the fact that I didn’t take her to New York to see Billy Joel at one of his regular Madison Square Garden shows. When COVID first hit, I admit I feared, as did Olivia, that maybe there would never be another chance to do that. That remains to be seen, but at least we can say we saw him in concert together.
Anyway, whether we get to see him at MSG on some future date, we’ll likely not see a repeat of this from one of his shows in August:
I’ve watched this video at least 20 times since I first heard of its existence (via Twitter, as bittersweet as that is). I love everything about it – her joy and enthusiasm, the way the two of them play off each other, how she skips off the stage at the end. It’s everything you could want from a live musical performance, and that it came as a surprise to everyone in attendance just makes it that much sweeter.
And then, in November, Rodrigo took the stage to honor another legend by singing one of Carly Simon’s greatest hits at her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction:
Again, I love everything about this. The song is an all-timer, and it is just perfect for her voice. (There’s a great cover of it by Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet that I also recommend; this one is maybe a smidge better but both are total bangers.) The way the band feeds off her energy, and the way the crowd is into it – the shots of Brandi Carlile singing along, and (I believe) LL Cool J air-drumming are perfection. As with the Billy Joel video, this is an introduction of Olivia Rodrigo to folks who are of the Billy Joel/Carly Simon musical era, and they are suitably impressed. Several commented that she should do a cover album of classic rock and pop hits, and I would be so there for it. I already like her debut album Sour – give it a listen if you haven’t already.
Two other things. One, much as I love “You’re So Vain”, we realize that whoever Carly Simon was (figuratively or actually) singing it to would have heard it at some point, and thus would have been correct in assuming that the song was indeed about him, right? It’s a good mind-fuck either way, I just wanted to note that for the record.
And two, in regard to the first video:
— Claire Willett (@clairewillett) 1:03 AM – 19 November 2022
Sigh. I’m old enough to remember when Twitter was fun. Maybe it will be again someday. Happy New Year!