The Two-Way
9:23 am
Wed March 13, 2013

VIDEO: Fan Accompanies Billy Joel; 'Greatest Moment Of My Life,' He Says

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 3:52 pm

It's taken about a month to hit the mainstream media's websites.

But now that it has, this clip of Vanderbilt University student Michael Pollack accompanying Billy Joel on "New York State of Mind" is spreading quickly.

We think you'll agree it makes for a nice break from the day's heavier news. Joel gives Pollack high praise: "Guy's got chops!"

In another video and an online interview, Pollack talked about how the charming moment during a Q&A session Joel had with Vandy students in January came about. He tells InsideVandy that:

"So I decided I was gonna go see Billy Joel right when we found out he was coming, and as a childhood idol of mine, right away I knew what I wanted to do when we went there. ... And the day came, I put together a question, and I was raising my hand, and my friends to the right of me kept pointing to me, and finally after a few questions he picked on me and I hesitantly said how 'New York State of Mind' was my favorite song, and how I had performed it with his saxophonist Richie Cannata in the past and wondered if I could go up and play it with him. And then he thought for a little — he took a second — and then he just said 'Okay.' ...

"I've been playing [the song] for at least eight years now ... it's one of my favorites by him. ... I had to tune up a little and learn the bridge one more time before the show just in case he called on me. But for the most part, it was by ear. ...

"I kind of lost myself playing. Then afterward he said to me ... he said that I was great, where are you from ... and I said, 'I'm a Long Islander just like you.' He was like, 'Cool.' Then I walked off, and that was it ... It was probably the greatest moment of my life, up to date."

Click here if you want to see another video view of what happened, from the perspective of Pollack's friends in the audience.

Pollack hopes to have a career in songwriting. He tells Inside Vandy that he "recently signed with BMI and started working with them."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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