John, Joel to play Nationals Park

John, Joel to play Nationals Park

VIERA, Fla. -- Elton John and Billy Joel, two of the most popular performers in pop history, are returning to Washington, D.C.

In what will be the first concert in Nationals Park history, the dynamic piano-playing duo will perform on July 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets will go on sale on Saturday at 10 a.m., exclusively through

As the inaugural concert at Nationals Park, John and Joel will open the concert together with a series of duets, playing twin pianos and trading vocals. Each artist will then perform a set with his own band. The grand finale reunites the two at center stage with their supporting musicians for a closing encore.

The two superstars are excited about the joint performance.

"I love touring with Billy," John said. "I have the greatest respect for him, and we're such good friends."

Joel is looking forward to the competition.

"The great thing about performing with Elton is that he is such a good piano player and that makes me have to dig deep to keep up with him," Joel said. "Not to mention I've got the best seat in the house -- only one piano away from Elton John!"

John and Joel launched their first tour in Philadelphia at the former Veterans Stadium with three sold-out shows in July 1994. Their first venture to Washington came in 2002, when John and Joel performed during three sold-out engagements at the former MCI Center.

John and Joel returned to the District as a part of the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. After John received an award for "exemplary lifetime achievements in the performing arts," Joel took to the stage to perform a rendition of John's classic "Benny and the Jets." The ceremony was filmed and broadcast to television audiences nationwide.

"The Nationals are thrilled to host the 'Face to Face' tour with Elton John and Billy Joel for the first-ever concert at Nationals Park," said Nationals president Stan Kasten. "Elton and Billy are beloved throughout Washington, D.C., and have a rich history performing in our city. Undoubtedly, this will be an remarkable inaugural evening of music out under the stars, showcasing the ballpark's capabilities as a premier summer concert venue."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.