How many times have you been to a rock concert and have been disappointed because the band or the singer doesn't sound anything like they did 30 or 40 years ago when they were first putting hits on the radio.  Billy Joel doesn't want to be one of those artists, and I must applaud him for his position. Joel stopped making pop albums 20 years ago but he continued to perform live. Now, it seems the Piano Man is considering ending his concert career as well.The Australian news site reports that while promoting his Stone Music Festival appearance in Sydney, Australia next month, Billy said the appearance "will be a big test" to see if he wants to continue performing live.

"I want to see if it's time for me to get off the stage," Billy explained. "There's a time when an athlete says I can't swing the bat anymore. So I get to feel it out...this will be a big test for me."

(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who's 64 in May, added that he can't stand watching older artists performing their hits on TV when they can no longer hit the high notes and perform as well as they used to, and he's determined not to join them in that sad spectacle. "I don't want to be that guy; I don't want to be Spinal Tap," he said.

There seems to be little danger of that. Billy's performance at the 12-12-12 Superstorm Sandy relief benefit last year -- his most recent concert appearance -- was considered one of the evening's best.

Billy signed up for the first annual Stone Music Festival on April 21 because, he says, "It's always fun to play Australia and I want to have fun now, have a good time." That appearance, as well as an April 27 gig at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival, are his only scheduled shows this year.

I am a huge Billy Joel fan, and I realize  his voice isn't what it once was. Maybe he can't do Just The Way You Are anymore, but I believe he can still pull off the bulk of his hits - and feel good about it. It would be a shame to see this rock and roll legend sail off to an early retirement when he still has plenty of gas in the tank. Of course, he's gonna know better than anyone. We just hope he discovers he still has it.