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Billy Joel and Elton John Stop Being Polite and Start Being Real

It's opening night of the 2009 Billy Joel/Elton John "Face to Face" tour. Five minutes before showtime, Billy Joel stands behind the curtains, nervously looking at his Rolex, when Elton John scurries up beside him.

Billy [under his breath]: Ah, the bitch is back . . .

Elton: William.

Billy: Reginald. Nice of you to join us.

Elton: Well, it's not like anybody's going to start the show without me. I'm the one everyone is really here to see.

Billy: Riiiight. Last I checked with my manager, I was the sixth best-selling recording artist of all time in the U.S., and I think you were what, 10th? You gotta sell a few million more to catch up with me, pal.

Elton: So how's that classical music career coming along?

Billy: Oh, just fine. Written any really boring, lame Disney theme songs lately?

Elton: Touché, pussycat! By the way, that's a very, umm, nice charcoal suit you're wearing. Very distinguished. Conservative. Really makes you look every one of your 60 years.

Billy: 59. I'm 59. I'm not 60 until May. You, however . . . Don't you qualify for the senior discount at Applebee's by now?

Elton: Not quite; I'm 61 and still going strong. So who picked out that suit for you, your seventh wife? The one who's younger than your daughter?

Billy: No, no, I select my own attire, thanks. That's an interesting get-up you've got on, though. Those red glasses . . . You're looking more and more like Sally Jessy Raphael every year. And did you raid the leftover pile from the Sgt. Pepper's album cover shoot? Actually, I guess you're less a sergeant than a rear admiral, eh?

Elton: Oh, William, you're a clever one! If only such wit could have made it into your songs. I mean, what's with "We Didn't Start the Fire"? Did you just riffle through your World Book Encyclopedia one day for lyrics?

Billy: Sorry, but unlike you, I haven't had Bernie Taupin on speed-dial for the past four decades to help me out. I heard you tried to write your own lyrics once and it came out worse than a Kevin Federline song.

Elton: Look, just don't screw up "Your Song" when we play it together, all right?

Billy: How could I screw that one up? I've had schnauzers who could play that thing in their sleep. Besides, it already sounded screwed up when you recorded it — "If I was a sculptor, but then again, no . . ." What the hell kind of line is that? Are you sure Taupin wrote that one, and not you?

Elton: How do you think I feel, having to sing that "Honesty" tripe with you? "Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue"? I bloody despise that song! At least I don't have to join you and your band for that "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" monstrosity. I'll be taking my bathroom break during that one — the perfect accompaniment to a dump.

Billy: I can't believe I agreed to do this tour with you for two frickin' years of my life. How long have we been doing these shows together, Reggie, like 15 years? You'd think I'd know better by now.

Elton: Tell me about it. But we're getting like two hundred bucks a ticket from these monkeys, so what the hell, I'll put up with you, William. By the way, you really should be calling me "Sir." I am a Commander of the British Empire, after all.

Billy: You know what I'll call you, I'll call you a pompous, washed-up motherfu—

PA Announcer: And now, ladies and gentlemen, two music legends and old friends, Billy Joel and Elton John!

Billy: I hate you.

Elton: I hate you. Let's do this.