Billy Joel, Elton John hits are ‘Back to Back’ with MSO

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Billy Joel, Elton John hits are ‘Back to Back’ with MSO

Jeans ’n Classics returns to cover pop icons’ most beloved songs

Jackson, Mississippi — The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra goes to the top of the pops charts with the welcome return of the Jeans ’n Classics band and a show celebrating the songs of two pop rock powerhouses. Don’t miss the music of the indomitable piano men in “Back to Back: The Music of Elton John & Billy Joel” 7:30 p.m. Saturday October 21, at Thalia Mara Hall.

The concert takes its cue from Joel’s and John’s stadium-packing “Face to Face” tours that started in 1994 and made them the longest running concert tandem in pop music history.

This opening concert for the MSO Pops Series headlines vocalist Jean Meilleur and pianist John Regan, plus two female backup singers and other members of the renowned Jeans ’n Classics band, along with the superb talents of MSO’s own.

The hybrid concert takes legendary rock ’n’ roll tunes to new heights of audial delight for every listener. “If someone has never heard an orchestra do rock ’n’ roll before, it’s very, very cool,” said Peter Brennan, Jeans ’n Classics founder/owner and orchestral arranger. “It’s a band and singers, only you have about a 50-piece band.” All those players bring all the colors, sounds and impact of this fabulous music to the fore. “Now, it’s just enhanced.”

The appeal works for rock ’n’ rollers, too, who might be in a symphony seat for the first time. “They’re never going to hear sounds like this,” Brennan said, as not just piano and guitar, but also brass, strings and more build on the infectious spirit, movement and emotion of songs audience members, from teens to grandparents, know by heart.

MSO is certainly not a backup band in this scenario. They are front and center, too, on songs such as Big Shot, My Life, Rocket Man, Someone Saved My Life Tonight and many more.

“It’s a wonderful program,” said MSO Maestro Crafton Beck, who previously conducted it with the Lima Symphony Orchestra in Ohio. “It’s an amazing lineup of songs.… This is a program where everyone will sing along — the whole thing!”

Tickets for “Back to Back” are $29 and up for adults, and $5 for students, kindergarten through college (with valid student ID). Visit for advance tickets and information.

The on-site box office will open at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m. For season tickets and more information, email or call 601-414-6005.

“Back to Back” is generously sponsored by the Meyer & Genevieve Falk Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. This season is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

What: Back to Back, MSO Pops Series concert
Who: Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 21, 2023
Where: Thalia Mara Hall 255 E. Pascagoula St. Jackson