Nashville, TN – Audience participation took on a new meaning when Billy Joel gave a Vanderbilt student the opportunity of a lifetime when he invited the budding musician on stage to play “New York State of Mind.”
Grammy winner superstar Billy Joel was doing a sold-out Q&A for students and faculty there when he invited the student, Michael Pollack, to come forward and play one of Joel’s classic tunes on the piano while Joel handled the vocals.
The impromptu performance before a very enthusiastic audience was captured on cell phone video (see below).
The Tennessean explains how Pollack got the chance to accompany the piano man on “New York State of Mind”:
“Pollack, 18, a freshman at Vanderbilt from the Long Island community of Roslyn, N.Y., came to the event knowing that at other Q&A performances Joel sometimes invites students on stage.
“So he made a pact with his roommate, Adam Luftig, that if Joel called on one of them, they would ask to come on stage.
“With his friends all pointing their fingers at him, Joel took note and called on Pollack.”
As you’ll see and hear on the video, Pollack asked if he could play “New York State of Mind,” and Joel simply replied “okay” as the audience cheered wildly.
Pollack had these thoughts about performing with Billy Joel:
“Once I started playing and I saw him leaning on the piano, I was just taken aback. I kept trying to kick myself and realize what moment I was in, because I’ve been a huge Billy Joel fan since I started playing music. He’s one of my biggest inspirations, he’s the reason I started writing and playing.”
Watch Billy Joel and Michael Pollack of Vanderbilt University perform “New York State of Mind” at the Langford Auditorium:
[Top image credit: Anthony Correia/Shutterstock.com]