Friday, July 18, 2008

Billy Joel

Yes, I saw Billy Joel in concert on Wednesday in the first of the "Last (Double) Play at Shea" concerts. It was originally billed at the Last Play at Shea but because the tickets sold out in T minus twenty seconds, he added a second concert date (much to the disdain of all those who desperately wanted to be at the LAST play at Shea). I didn't really care since I lucked into a ticket the night before the concert from a friend who had an extra she was trying to unload.

This was actually my first, and likely last, time at Shea Stadium. Billy Joel may be getting on in years, but man does he put on a good concert. He could easily have been self-indulgent and political (a la Barbara Streisand), but instead he played for three solid hours and all of the songs that everyone knew. When he needed a break, he brought out "guest stars" including Tony Bennett (who sang a duet with him on New York State of Mind), John Mayer (who played guitar to Times to Remember), John Mellencamp (who sang Little Pink Houses) and Don Henley who sang a song that I knew, but the name escapes me.

The concert was peppered with references to the Mets and the Yankees (you have to love the culture of baseball in New York City) and references to the Beatles (the first concert ever played in Shea Stadium). Billy Joel played all of his songs that referenced New York specifically and while he looked to be approximately one inch tall from my seat in the upper deck, there were large screens shaped like the New York skyline to put him in technicolor. The scariest part of the concert was the end when he played "We Didn't Start the Fire". The driving beat got all of the people on the upper decks moving around in a rhythm, causing the ending deck to shake. The people in front of us were taking video of the railing moving back and forth in time to 65,000 people singing about hypodermics on the shore and rock and roll and cola wars.

Really awesome concert.

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