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Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel Rock Out at Madison Square Garden

The all-American duo sing their big hits to celebrate Joel’s 100th show

spinner image Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen perform 10th Avenue, Freeze Out and Born to Run on stage at the 100th Lifetime Performance at Madison Square Garden on July 18, 2018 in New York City.
Billy Joel (left) and Bruce Springsteen surprised fans who came out for Joel's historic performance at the famed New York City venue.
Myrna M. Suarez/WireImage/Getty Images

Billy "The Piano Man" Joel and Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen came together Wednesday at Madison Square Garden to celebrate a centennial — Joel’s 100th concert at the famed New York City arena. As Rolling Stone put it: “The venue almost busted in half.”

The two all-American singer-songwriters, whose albums and hit singles have defined the baby boom generation since the '70s when each became instant stars, now work just blocks from each other — Springsteen, 68, on Broadway with his one-man show, and Joel, 69, with a monthly residency at the Garden. Each is still packing their individual houses, with Springsteen ruling the Great White Way and Joel breaking records at the most iconic venue in the country.

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The dual appearance Wednesday was a surprise to the audience, there to celebrate Joel’s big anniversary night. Joel was barely into his introduction — “I want to bring out an old friend of mine …” — when the fans started shouting “Bruuuce!”

Springsteen indulged the crowd, rocking onto the stage with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and together they sang Springsteen’s anthem “Born to Run.” It was just a two-song moment, but the friends clearly enjoyed it, and Springsteen kissed the top of Joel’s bald head before exiting the stage.

Noting that his 100th show also meant 2 million tickets sold, Joel told the press before the big night: “I couldn’t think of a better way to peak in my life.”

He told the audience he had to think of a perfect song to celebrate his milestone — and he did. He performed “This Is the Time.”