CD review: Billy Joel “Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium — The Concert”

CD review: Billy Joel “Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium — The Concert”
Published: April 15, 2011
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Billy Joel “Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium — The Concert” (CD/DVD set) (Legacy)

New York native Billy Joel gives the legendary rock 'n' roll venue and home of the Mets a suitably grand send-off with “Live at Shea Stadium — The Concert.”

In 2008, Joel played two “The Last Play at Shea” shows for a combined 110,000 enthusiastic fans before the final section of the stadium was torn down the following year. Two jam-packed CDs are needed to capture the 2½-hour concert, which mixes familiar hits, album cuts and high-wattage guest stars, including Oklahoma native Garth Brooks, Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney.

“Is this cool or what?” Joel quips to the crowd, and the show maintains a definite party atmosphere. The rollicking anthem “Only the Good Die Young,” the genre-shifting “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and the still-relevant “Allentown” are among the hit parade highlights.

The touching “She's Always a Woman” is punctuated by a marriage proposal, with Joel playfully advising the couple, “get a prenup.” The singer/songwriter/pianist's voice sometimes sounds strained, but his fingers are as fleet as ever. And when it comes to his signature song, “Piano Man,” with its “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” lead-in, the crowd is more than happy to sing for him.

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