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.
Album cuts such as “Summer, Highland Falls,” “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go out on Broadway)” and “Goodnight Saigon,” with a group of military singers accompanying Joel and his band, supply some of the evening's most resonant moments.
The farewell party gets extra star power when Brooks belts his Joel-penned hit “Shameless,” Bennett lends his famed voice to “New York State of Mind,” and McCartney revisits the Beatles' seminal Shea show with “I Saw Her Standing There,” before closing the festivities appropriately with “Let It Be.” The DVD includes bonus performances by Steven Tyler, John Mellencamp and Roger Daltrey.
— Brandy McDonnell