Billy Joel didn’t have to open his mouth to make a statement during his most recent concert at Madison Square Garden. The 68-year-old singer, who was born to Jewish parents and considers himself “culturally Jewish,” took the stage for an encore at his latest MSG show wearing a yellow Star of David on his jacket in an apparent response to the recent anti-Semitic activity in Charlottesville, Va., according to Ultimate Classic Rock. Joel also used his encore to highlight the White Houses’ revolving door under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Billy was joined onstage by singer Patty Smythe, where the duo they performed the ’80s Scandal hit, “Goodbye to You” as images of fired Trump staffers were displayed on super-sized screens behind them. Included in Billy Joel’s “goodbye” presentation were recently fired White House staffers, strategic adviser Steve Bannon, ex-press secretary Sean Spicer, and extremely short-lived ex-communications adviser Anthony Scaramucci.
After the somewhat surprising performance, Patty Smythe took to Twitter to post a photo of herself and Joel, captioning it with: “Last night at MSG, with Billy Joel. Singing ‘Goodbye to You’, while faces of fired White House staff were shown behind us.”
Joel’s ex-wife, Christie Brinkley, also commented on the unusual encore, praising her ex-husband for wearing the yellow star on the day of the solar eclipse.
“May that star also remind you today of the gold stars pinned to the jackets of soldiers for their bravery and valor for fighting an evil so hideous even the gold stars in the sky were afraid to shine,” she wrote. “Thank you, Billy, for reminding people what was…so it may never ever be again.”
Billy Joel usually likes to stay out of politics and he doesn’t usually make statements about neo-Nazism during his shows. Earlier this year, Joel told Rolling Stone he tries not to “get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think,” but he admitted he is “flabbergasted” that Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
Billy Joel got mixed reviews for his encore at Madison Square Garden. While many fans gave him a thumbs up for his bold move, a few others thought he crossed the line by getting political.
So dope seeing Billy Joel live and seeing him take a stand to the hate in our country. Wearing the star of david is a huge statement— Jack Salzman (@jack_salzman) August 22, 2017
@billyjoel no problem with the Jewish star, But political slideshow with Patty singing "Goodbye to You" crossed the line. Goodbye to u Billy— Gina D (@QueenGeeD) August 22, 2017
Billy Joel joins other rock stars who have incorporated today’s dire headlines into their shows, including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who’s anti-Trump stance is featured prominently in his concerts. Waters recently advised his critics to go see Katy Perry if they don’t want to see reality.
You can see Billy Joel’s encore with Patty Smythe below.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]