On Wednesday night (July 18th), Billy Joel will perform his 100th career show at New York's Madison Garden. The "Piano Man," whose concert this week also marks the 60th gig in his ongoing Garden residency, spoke about his 40-year relationship with the venue, telling Pollstar, "I really can’t get my head around it. . . Those shows don’t seem so far away from when we started doing the residency at Madison Square Garden, which was already an unreal concept to me. Now I’m a franchise at MSG, like a sports team? And now we’re at 100, it’s all very surreal. We’re just planning on doing our show, like we always do. If someone shows up and wants to play (at the 100th show), that’s great, but so far I’ve got no plans. If something pops into my head, I’ll do it. The crew may be planning some kind of surprise that I don’t know about, they love to do that. They love to throw me off guard. I may get a pie in the face, who knows?"

He went on to tell Parade.com his reasoning for remaining such a massive draw at MSG: "I think that’s luck. I’m from New York. Madison Square Garden’s my hometown venue. It was natural for them to pick me to play there. We sell (seats) in the round every night. A lot of acts don’t play the back (of the arena), just the front. We play it all. . . I’m an unlikely candidate for a rock star. I don’t look like a rock star. I’m like the eternal underdog. In my songs' lyrics, there’s a lot of acknowledgment that I’m a screw-up, y'know, I’m human. I’m as lost as you are. Like you, I’m just trying to find my way. I guess people like that."

Over the course of the residency, high-profile guests popping by to sit in with Billy have included Paul Simon, Sting, John Mellencamp, Foreigner's Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, Steve Miller, AC/DC's Brian Johnson, the Rascals' Felix Cavaliere, jazz pianist Chick Corea, classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, daughter Alexa Ray Joel, and pop star Miley Cyrus. Other friends and fans that have made appearances are Jimmy Fallon, Howard Stern, Kevin James, and former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier.

Billy is still repped by his longtime agent, Dennis Arfa, CEO and founder of Artist Group International -- the same agent that booked him his first MSG show way back on December 14th, 1978. Afra explained to Pollstar, "Billy is the kind of act you see and then come back and bring a friend. When I started out with him we had a philosophy that we only headlined. We don’t open for anyone. We ended up doing 108 dates on that first tour in 1977 and capped it off with three nights in Carnegie Hall. We didn’t even have a hit album yet but we had lines around the block. There were no Ticketmasters, just an old lady sitting in a box office. My goal was always to be as good as Billy was musically."

In 1979 when Billy Joel was composing the songs for the following year's Glass Houses collection, he made a concerted effort to write and record more "arena friendly" material: "We had now had about two, three years of playing in arenas and coliseums. And I recognized that need to write bigger music. Songs like 'Just The Way You Are,' 'Honesty' -- ballads -- they don't always fly that well in an arena. You need big sound. So I started writing harder-edged songs; more guitar-based songs -- 'Sometimes A Fantasy,' 'It's Still Rock And Roll To Me,' 'You May Be Right,' 'Close To The Borderline,' 'All For Leyna.' The band loved playing it, audiences loved the material that was on the recording, and we were on a roll."

AUDIO: BILLY JOEL ON 'GLASS HOUSES' MATERIAL