During 'An Evening of Questions and Answers and a Little Bit of Music' at Vanderbilt University in January, student Michael Pollack asked Billy Joel if he could accompany him on the piano while Joel sang 'New York State of Mind' (video below).
Joel agreed, and like the audience, was blown away by Pollack's piano playing. After their song, Joel said: "That's Michael Pollack. Remember that name. Nice going Michael. Guy's got chops. I love when that happens. That's nice. Good luck to you Michael, I think you're gonna do fine."
The video of the song has gone viral with over 200K views on YouTube.
Michael Pollack told InsideVandy.com: "My roommate and I decided that we would try and find a way to get a question to be asked, and see if we could get on stage. 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."
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"And then he thought for a little — he took a second — and then he just said “Okay.” Which wasn’t quite convincing, but it was good enough. I walked up, we spoke about the arrangement for about 15 seconds — he just went through what he wanted me to play — and then from there, it was just … foggy. It’s hard to remember. I just started playing. I had practiced it a little bit thinking maybe I’d get the chance to go up … 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."