Crying and Smiling at the Same Time « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Crying and Smiling at the Same Time

I am in the hotel room at the Sheraton Arlington (Texas) for the TPPA 2013 Photo Conference and Trade Show (see more on that below). The convention center is right across the street. Both joints are surrounded by Six Flags, Ranger Stadium, and Texas Stadium. It is all pretty impressive. Younger daughter Alissa sent me this e-mail:

Subject: Billy Joel singing with college kid

Dad, Did you see this?

I watched the video. That kid made that piano sing. I cried and smiled at the same time. Both with joy.

I have always been a huge Billy Joel fan.


In August, 1994 my late wife Elaine and I had tickets for a Billy Joel/Elton John concert at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. We were living in Deltona near Elaine’s parents at the time. The funny thing is that Elaine’s oncologist advised her not to go. “There is too much risk of getting sick with all those people.” Elaine laughed and we went. She already new that she had only a few months to live.

We paid $10 to park on somebody’s lawn about ten blocks from the venue. We were about halfway there when the skies opened up. I mean torrential downpour. Lightning, thunder, and hail. We tried to stay dry under a tiny overhang on some building but we got drenched. After it stopped, we made it to the stadium where we learned that the 7:00pm show had been postponed three hours so that the electrical cables and sound system could be repaired. At that point Elaine was shivering. “Do you want to go home babe?” “No way she replied quickly.”

The first half of the concert was virtually all Elton John. His fans were giddy. He was great, but we had gone to see Billy Joel. After intermission–it was now after midnight, more Elton John. What the heck is going on here??? Then Billy Joel came out and blew the house down. Blew Elton John out of the water. Even the Elton John fans agreed. Standing on the piano. Doing all of our favorite songs: Allentown, Leningrad, The Downeaster Alexa, A Matter of Trust, The Entertainer, Only The Good Die Young, She’s Always a Woman, The Stranger, New York State of Mind, We Didn’t Start The Fire, All For Leyna, The Ballad of Billy the Kid, Big Shot, Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), River of Dreams, and Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. At least that’s how I remember it.

Then he walked off the stage to a thunderous ovation at about 2am even though about 10,000 of the original 55,000 had left. But, we still had hope. They both came out for the encore. They did Piano Man a capella and asked those present to join in. There was never a sweeter sound. I stood and cried thinking that this was Elaine’s introduction to heaven.

If you like Billy Joel, be sure to read the whole story and watch the wonderful video here.

TPPA Convention & Keynote Presentation

I will be presenting the keynote address at the Texas Professional Photographer’s Association Convention in Arlington, TX on the evening of March 16. My appearance is being generously sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. I hope that you can make it. Here is additional information on the convention:

Weekend Photo Event: 24 programs and Trade Show only $49: March 15-17, 2013

Attend the event with the best photographic education value in America! For only $49 you can attend your choice of 24 different programs from Landscape Photography, Understanding Exposure, How to enter Print Competition, People Photography, Fashion and Boudoir Photography, Pet photography, How to Get Published, Adobe Lightroom, Nature Photography, Sports Photography, How to Turn your photos to Art and much more! On Saturday evening we have Arthur Morris, one of the nations top bird photographers, doing his “A Bird Photographers Story” program!

How would you like the chance to have your work published in our award winning, regional photography magazine. You can participate in the Print Competition and get into the Trade Show absolutely FREE! Just announced, win a LexJet trophy and $100 if your entry was printed on LexJet product. We also have several Hands-On programs on Friday March 15 on PhotoShop, Posing, Lighting, How to Market Your Photo Business and more for a small additional cost. You must pre-register for the event at but you DO NOT have to register for the classes on Saturday and Sunday. You can attend as many or as few as you want! All will take place be at the Arlington Convention Center just 15 minutes from DFW.

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll find something for you! Please join us! Even if you and only attend one day! Learn more here.

8 comments to Crying and Smiling at the Same Time

  • avatar Mary White

    WOW!!! Thank you so much for sharing that video with all of us. I had not seen it before and as a musician it blew me away! The ability and talent of that young man would not warrant a rehearsal. The children are our future…..And so glad you and your wife were able to experience the concert! I have just finished radiation therapy following surgery in October for endometrioid cancer and am facing the unknown. You made me smile today. Thank you for that.

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    Wow,completely blown away by by your story.Thanks for sharing a special moment in your life.

  • Great story. My wife Karen just had cancer surgery. This story of you situation means a lot.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am sending love, strength, and energy to both. Best advice: visit and learn to do the work. It is all that we have. Byron Katie is amazing. For more on the subject, click here and read the comments.

  • avatar maggi fuller

    Billy Joel’s voice is lasting a lot better than EJ’s too…. . Brilliant piano by the young guy, but don’t quite believe it was unrehearsed!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Judging by the smile on the young man’s face and the hug at the end I have no doubt that the two had not practiced in advance.