To celebrate his milestone birthday, the legendary singer performed in his 64th-ever soldout show at the New York City venue

By Joelle Goldstein
May 09, 2019 11:55 PM
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Billy Joel has plenty of reasons to smile tonight!

To celebrate his 70th birthday on Thursday, the longtime musician performed to a sold out crowd — the 64th time he’s done so — at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

It would turn out to be a memorable night for Joel, as he was honored by family and friends, both near and far, to ring in his milestone birthday at the famed venue he’s been playing a monthly residency at since January 2014.

Before kicking off his performance, Joel got in some party time backstage as he was joined by wife Alexis Roderick and their daughters Della Rose, 3, and Remy Anne, 18 months.

In an adorable photo, the family of four all had big smiles on their faces, as Della celebrated her dad’s big day in a party hat that read “Happy Birthday Billy!” with balloons on it — the same hats that were also handed out to the night’s crowd.

Billy Joel, Alexis Roderick, Della Rose and Remy Anne
Myrna Suarez

After taking the stage, a source close to Joel tells PEOPLE the “Just the Way You Are” singer was surprised with video messages from a number of fellow musicians, including Pink, Garth Brooks, Brian Johnson from AC/DC and Sir Paul McCartney.

In addition to the sweet messages, the source says Joel had two familiar faces join him on stage for two performances: his adult daughter Alexa Ray, 33, and little Della.

“Alexa Ray Joel performed ‘New York State of Mind’ and they brought Della Rose on stage to perform ‘Happy Birthday,'” the source says.

Billy Joel on Thursday night
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It wouldn’t be the first time that Joel has been joined onstage with his two daughters.

The legendary singer recently brought his girls onto the Madison Square Garden stage in December to have them perform — Alexa singing a duet of the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” with her dad while Della sang with him on her favorite song of his: “Don’t Ask Me Why.”

We like to roll the family in [at Christmas],” Joel joked in the video of his daughter’s performance posted online afterward.

Billy Joel and Alexa Ray Joel in December
Myrna M. Suarez/Getty
Billy Joel and Della Rose
Myrna M. Suarez/Getty

Following his daughters’ appearance on Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo showed up on stage with his daughter Cara, 24, to wish the longtime singer and Long Island native a “Happy Birthday.”

Musician Peter Frampton also later appeared to play with Joel, which he revealed would be happening earlier in the day on Twitter.

“Soundcheck this afternoon at MSG with @billyjoel. So honoured to be asked to play at his 70th birthday show. Happy Birthday Billy!!! And thank you,” Frampton, 69, wrote, alongside a photo of a pair rehearsing their performance.

One person who was unable to attend Joel’s birthday festivities on Thursday was his ex-wife Christie Brinkley, who made sure to send her love from afar through a sweet shoutout on Instagram.

“Sending Happy Birthday Wishes to Billy,” she captioned a photo of the singer and Alexa performing together.

“Remember when we used to do the videos PRETENDING to be old? Well we still can’t do that look very well lol! !” Brinkley, 65, jokingly wrote. “Rock that Garden Tonight And I’ll do my best over here on Broadway at @chicagomusical”

“@alexarayjoel Sing the hell out of that birthday song ! #billys70th 📸 @myrnasuarezphoto,” the model added.

Alexa also shared the same photo to her Instagram hours earlier and sent sweet birthday wishes to her father ahead of their performance.

“Happy 70th Birthday To My Pops, The One N’ Only!!!🕊🔱🏹🖤👑🔮🕯⚜️Who’s coming to tonight’s Garden Show?! We’ve got lots of surprises in store for you…🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹” she wrote.

Speaking to Rolling Stone recently ahead of his milestone birthday, Joel revealed how turning 70 came with a lot of thoughts.

“On the one hand, I’m happy to be alive,” Joel recently told the outlet. “On the other hand, I don’t know how much of a party I deserve just for making it to 70. I mean, it’s a work night — you can’t have birthday cake, you can’t do any of that stuff.”

“This is a Peter Pan kinda job,” he added. “You start out, and you’re young, and you’re rockin’ and rollin’, and that’s what you do all your life. You become a little myopic about how old you actually are. I see pictures of myself at the Garden recently, and I go, ‘That don’t look right.’ I got old, I lost my hair. I was never a matinee idol to begin with, and there I am onstage still doing the same job I was doing when I was 16.”