Keith Perks

PHOTOS: Gene Ween Does Billy Joel with Paul Green Rock Academy at Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, 08/05/17

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Aaron Freeman may be known best as Gene Ween, the frontman of alternative rock band Ween from New Hope, Pennsylvania, but on Saturday, Aug. 5, he embodied a very different singer/songwriter for an intimate set of Billy Joel songs in the Chandelier Lobby of the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre.

The night began with a high-energy performance by the talented young students of the Paul Green Rock Academy in Woodstock, New York. The “All-Stars” surprised the crowd with their skills and quickly won them over with an hour of classic rock, punk, and even Whitney Houston covers.

Green then joined Freeman as the bassist and music director of his seven-piece band for bestselling Joel hits like “Captain Jack,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “The Stranger” (joined by a friend for some guest whistling), and “My Life,” among others. Attendees were a mix of rowdy Ween fans and those who just love Billy Joel as much as “Gener,” who was in good spirits and clearly having a lot of fun.

After he lit up a cigar and returned to the stage for an encore, many people moved up front and were dancing and singing along, making it feel more like a party of friends than a typical concert, which is one of the many strengths of the ongoing “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” series at the Kirby Center.