Billy Joel made his first appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert a special one for fans and dystopian enthusiasts alike: the legendary singer performed his live favorite “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” on Monday’s broadcast.
The song is already lining itself up as the year’s unofficial anthem because of its title; Joel even performed “Miami 2017” in Miami on the first day of 2017.
First released on the 1976 album Turnstiles, “Miami 2017” has become a staple of Joel’s live shows and reached greater significance in popular culture after Joel performed the song at The Concert for New York in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Following Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast in October of 2012, Joel performed the song at 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief, tweaking the “Miami 2017” lyrics to fit with the devastation of the storm. The track tells the story of the fall of New York City from the perspective of a retiree in Florida years in the future, recalling what it was like when the Five Boroughs was destroyed. (Joel wrote the song in response to New York City’s financial struggles in the 1970s.)
Despite its popularity in Joel’s canon of songs, “Miami 2017” didn’t make the singer’s own personal top-five list. As he told Colbert in an interview on Monday’s show, “Vienna,” “And So It Goes,” “You May Be Right,” “She’s Right On Time,” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” are his five favorites.