Monday, July 21, 2008

Billy Joel

To quote the Bangles..."Its just another manic Monday". That song was written by Prince by the way who was nailing Susanna Hoffs the pretty lead singer at the time as well.

But I digress...last Friday was one of the best concerts I've ever seen and I've seen a lot (that's a list for another time). It was dubbed the "Last Play At Shea" since they are tearing down good old Shea Stadium after the Mets win the World Series this year and they wanted to have a concert as well before it was razed. Who else to host that last concert but Long Island's own Billy Joel.

Now whether you love him or hate him (and I know some people who despise him), you have to admire the fact that he has one of the biggest catalog of songs. I didn't get into him much growing up on Long Island and really started liking him when I listened to his Greatest Hits Volume I and II a few years ago for the first time in ages. Great song after great song kept playing. Then I dug a little deeper into his albums and found a lot of other classics. In any event, I saw him at two of the twelve shows he played at Madison Square Garden in 2006, but that was nothing compared to Friday night's final show.

It was a perfect combination: Shea Stadium, home of the lovable Mets and Billy Joel, a Long Island icon. The only drawback was that is was so god damn HOT and HUMID. Most of the band members were wearing jackets and pants. Billy is 59 years old and it wouldn't have surprised me if he grabbed his chest during the first song. In any event here are the top 10 highlights for me (in chronological order of the show) and 3 low lights.

1.) Waling into Shea Stadium and seeing the outfield replaced by a huge stage setup that went from left to right field. There were also four video screens. By the time he hit the stage, you could barely see him but the crystal clear video screens made it look like you were in an IMAX theater.

2.) First song is the "Star Spangled Banner". Pretty clever opening.

3.) During a lesser known song "Zanzibar", they showed clips of the Mets playing with a focus of this one shot of Mike Piazza walking off the field. Got pretty emotional there.

4.)"Keeping The Faith" is such a great childhood song although I didn't some of the things he was talking about when I was growing up (trojans...what were those?). I'm glad he played that.

5.) As always he got a nice emotional lift playing "Goodnight Saigon", his ode to Vietnam, by bringing up various soldiers and some of the NYPD. The crowd went berzerk anytime the videoscreens showed them.

6.) Steven Tyler doing Walk This Way. I'm not a huge Aerosmith fan but I like some of their songs and actually played Walk This Way in a band so it was nice to hear it live.

7.) Seeing Tony Bennet come on stage was a treat. He's 80 years old but he seems like a pretty hip guy. He had a cool navy bluish suit on too. He sang on New York State Of Mind which is the classic New York song.

8.) Roger Daltrey coming on stage to sing My Generation. Oh baby...The Who have been my one of my top 5 bands of all time and although I've seen them a few times it was cook to see Roger Daltrey there. Plus, The Who played Shea in 1982 so that was a nice "complete the circle" sort o thing.

9.) 60,000 fans singing Piano Man...although its been overplayed for years its a great party song and Friday night was one big party. I love that line"and the piano sounds like a carnival, and the microphone smells like a BEER"....great imagery.

10.) Seeing Paul McCartney come on stage to do two songs at the end. I've never seen any of the Beatles live before so that was pretty cool. I've seen the original concert the Beatles played at Shea so I'm sure Paul was loving it.

---Quick side note. Billy Joel's guitar player must have had the greatest two concert days of his life...not only did he get to play in one of the biggest concerts, he got to play on some of the greatest songs ever with their original singers (Walk This Way, My Generation, I Saw Her Standing There, Pink Houses, Boys Of Summer).

Low lights:
1.) Billy got off the stage at midnight and it took an hour to walk a quarter of the mile it takes to get to the trains. It was like playing a three hour tennis match and then being herded with thousands of other people shoulder to shoulder for an hour.

2.) Garth Brooks coming out...I'm sorry, as much as I love Billy Joel, I can't stand Garth Brooks. I do respect him but would have rather seen Elton John come on or Billy Jeol read the phonebook for five minutes than see him.

3.) The poor beer people at Shea. I went to get a beer and asked the sellers (there were two) if this was a little more crazy than a Mets game. They said its much worse and I thought they were talking about the heat, but instead they were referencing how nobody was tipping them. Granted its $8 a beer at Shea but c'mon...these people are there for a reason. The guy looked like he was going to throw himself off the upper deck at the end of the show. Hopefully he didn't.

And that's a wrap for today...I have some good stuff lined up the rest of the week.


Anonymous said...


I love your blog.

Anyway just wondering if you can crossover into mainstream new events and right about the happenings of society with your unique take and perspective.

Anonymous said...


I love your blog.

Anyway just wondering if you can crossover into mainstream new events and write about the happenings of society with your take and perspective.

Keep up the good work!