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Is Syracuse Going to Extremes?

The big announcement of Billy Joel headlining at the Carrier Dome one more time has nothing to do with sports. Or...does it?

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like just a week ago I was writing a non-love love letter to the Carrier Dome. Okay, so it was just seven days ago when I wrote, among other clever quips, "It's all apart of the sights and sounds that the dome offers. Creating and also triggering memories of all of us."

An ode to the old girl on the hill in Central New York. A structure that can be like like a work of art, only if viewed through the right lens on the right day or evening. And when the place is rocking, it's the place to be.

I know, I go to extremes sometimes.

And so does Syracuse University, it would seem, anyway.

Apart of the "major announcement" regarding a concert at the school, we learned it would be Billy Joel making another appearance in the dome this coming March. More sights and sounds on the way. And we learned that the school has something special up its sleeve for the Piano Man's impending performance.

"The show is Joel's seventh at the Dome -- making him the most prolific performer at the Loud House. The University will hang a "7" banner in his honor at the Dome."

At first blush, this seems like it's either a joke that someone didn't pick up on, or maybe the "7" banner will hang just for the show, or just for a few days prior. All of that isn't exactly clear at this time.

But it is obvious that Syracuse University is attempting to hype Billy Joel Back At The Dome in a way that makes you think it's 1995. Now, don't take that to mean I'm against Joel playing the Carrier Dome. In fact, many of the columns I write here are often serenaded by Joel's music -- I'm a sucker for "Captain Jack" and "Sometimes a Fantasy." Still, a "major" announcement in music these days either pertains to someone like a Taylor Swift (a fresh and hot musical act) or someone like a Paul McCartney (an older and iconic act). Joel is closer to the latter than the former, but he really doesn't fall into either category.

It's a good get for the dome, but it's not a home run.

Which is fine. As I wrote last week, the more the merrier when it comes to attraction options. I wouldn't even pay too much mind to any of this if it wasn't for the whole "hanging the special banner" thing. I mean, good LORD what a stupid move. I can already see the T.V. ads: "Billy Joel is in a New York's College Team State of Mind!," as the camera pans to Joel's "jersey."

Other arenas do something similar, yes. But this just feels forced...strange.


It's like a Nike "swoosh" on the Ernie Davis cleats -- just unnecessary "branding" blurring the line between tradition and making a buck.

All so incredibly goofy and yet fitting, too. Very much on par with SU's having a giant banner of Jim Boeheim, Gerry McNamara and Carmelo Anthony stating "2003 National Champions." As if the rest of the team didn't contribute to the success of that season. And how many jokes are being made about Joel's "jersey" being honored before the likes of Lawrence Moten's and John Wallace's? What about some more football players being honored before a singer from the Bronx? (Hello, 1987 team!)

Syracuse just doesn't do this whole thing well.

The fact that fans could walk into the dome, stroll up the ramp to the seats and peer out to see what amounts to an advertisement hanging right next to all those lacrosse banners or Don McPherson's Hall of Fame honor? Like those giant Turning Stone tarps draping upper seating sections, we'll get used to it. We're talking about the same school that changes jersey combinations like a 12-year-old selecting a team in Madden all because Nike says so.

Ultimately, a concert was needed -- I guess -- and some buzz was probably more needed. It's Joel instead of Swift or McCartney for a reason, maybe an indictment upon the Carrier Dome. Maybe the random tribute set to hang for a musician not fully tied to the University is another indictment, too. It's all little bizarre; it's all Syracuse.

I still love the dome for all it offers through all its flaws. But it's a place where nothing is really too sacred. Where the practice of mixing brand with tradition is, in fact, tradition.