Billboard Bits: Billy Joel, Essence, Juan Gabriel

News on Billy Joel, Essence, Juan Gabriel

As expected, Billy Joel has begun confirming dates for his first solo tour in more than six years. So far, four January arena shows are confirmed, beginning Jan. 10 in Jacksonville, Fla., as is a March 7 date in Philadelphia. Tickets for the first two shows go on sale Saturday (Nov. 19) via Ticketmaster.

As previously reported, Joel handpicked the selections on the upcoming Columbia/Legacy boxed set "My Lives," due Nov. 22.

Here are Billy Joel's tour dates:

Jan. 10: Jacksonville, Fla. (Veterans Memorial Arena)
Jan. 12: Tampa, Fla. (St. Pete Times Forum)
Jan. 19: Boston (TD Banknorth Garden)
Jan. 23: New York (Madison Square Garden)
March 7: Philadelphia (Wachovia Center)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Originally scheduled to return to New Orleans, the 2006 Essence Music Festival has been temporarily relocated to Houston in light of the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast. Tickets for the July 1-3 event at Reliant Park go on sale Dec. 1.

The festival was held this summer at New Orleans' Louisiana Superdome and featured performances by Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Talib Kweli and Destiny's Child, among others.

-- Clover Hope, N.Y.

Latin star Juan Gabriel was injured after fall from the stage Sunday at Houston's Toyota Center, just a few minutes into the start of his concert there. Gabriel reportedly suffered a broken wrist and a concussion after tripping over a microphone cord, but is expected to make a full recovery.

As a precaution, Gabriel's remaining U.S. dates, which were to run through Nov. 20 in Rosemont, Ill., have been postponed. Organizers are in the midst of rescheduling the shows; tickets will be honored from the original dates.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.