Diehard Billy Joel fans lined up Wednesday outside the Paramount in Huntington for a chance to see their idol perform close to home.
Many had seen him perform more than a dozen times. And many had found ways around expected difficulties with Ticketmaster.
The man with the most Joel shows under his belt might have been Charlie Merangelo of Huntington. Wednesday's show was his 39th performance, with more planned next month. He is planning a trip to Dublin and Manchester to see Joel but couldn't pass up the chance to see the singer in his backyard.
Equally determined was Gail Gallo of Stony Brook, a nurse who was heading into her 13th Joel concert. So determined was she to see the Huntington show that she skipped online sales and went right to a dealer and paid $799 each for two tickets. She plans to donate an equivalent amount to Long Island Cares-the Harry Chapin Food Bank, which is a beneficiary of the Joel concert. She also grabbed the first spot in line, arriving about noon. She said she'd gone to Hicksville High School, where she was four years behind Joel.
Paul and Kathy Sgroi of Smithtown brought a 1975 Joel album, hoping to get an autograph. They said they were able to get tickets through a friend.
And Michele Bica from Northport, in line with a friend Laurie Costell-Hickey of East Northport, pronounced herself "super excited" to be attending her fourth Joel concert.
Attorneys Lee Reynolds and Michael McCarthy, who represented the Paramount on zoning issues, also attended with their wives, Kim McCarthy and Erica Reynolds. They had seen Joel in 2008 in what was supposed to be the last concert at Shea Stadium until one more was added at the last moment.
A few people stood on the sidewalk near the theater, asking passersby if they had tickets for sale.