The Piano Man is really The Electronic Keyboard Man.
A tipster who peaked under the lid of Billy Joel’s Steinway grand piano tells me there are no strings inside. The 88 ivories are connected to an electronic synthesizer.
“The fans don’t know it. They love him and pack the place, but the grand ‘piano’ he has onstage is just a shell with no guts,” said my source.
A Joel spokeswoman said, “The piano is not empty inside, there are aspects of both acoustic and synthesized keyboard. There has been no ‘acoustic’ rock and roll or pop pianists probably for the last century.”
The spokeswoman added, “An acoustic piano has to be electronically conveyed otherwise it would never be heard in an acoustically challenging environment like sports arenas or stadiums.”
The excuse tendered by Joel's spokeswoman is dubious - an acoustic piano can be mic'd so it can be heard in a live performance.
But Joel isn't having his acoustic piano mic'd.
He's hiding a synthesizer inside an acoustic piano shell.
In other words, the "Piano Man" is playing a synthesizer while making people think he's playing a piano (and that's assuming he's doing much live playing at all - many artists "live" performances these days are pre-recorded.)
No wonder Joel and Cuomo are such great pals - they're both consumed by appearances that contradict reality and when caught on it, they (or their spokespeople) sling some horsehockey to fool people.