he IS the entertainer

Last night was incredible. Unbelievable. There are moments were you just sort of feel like it’s surreal that you’re even there. How *did* I manade to get myself here? I’m used to baseball stadiums with hordes of adoring fans but let’s face it, even the most packed regular game would never look like Shea last night, with the crowd adorning even the field from one corner to the other. Reviews online estimate some 63,000 in attendance. Um wow. And while I’m not a fan of outdoor venues, I have to say that the way they set-up Shea was about as darn good as it’s going to get.

Last night’s show was supposed to be THE show. A second show was added after the tickets for last night’s show were snatched up in less than 50 minutes. Seriously?!? Crazy. I have a quick clip of his apology to the crowd on this that I’ll put up later. I knew they were going to be filming the concert for use later. I had thought it would be a DVD similar to his Yankee stadium concert, but some of the articles I’m reading online today give the impression it’ll be a theatrical release. Interesting…

The setlist was packed with bigger known favorites – especially those with a NY focus. Now living here, I pick up on all of those local references that previously I had nonchalantly glazed over. I’m intrigued to pull out the iPod today and listen all day to his songs and see just how many NY references I’ve missed all of these years. In Alabama, Mulberry Street doesn’t quite have any sort of true connection. I get it now though for sure.

The last time I saw Billy was in DC, but you just can’t compete with a show on this scale. Such a momentous occasion. So charged. The set list was incredible…

Star Spangled Banner / Miami 2017 / Prelude/Angry Young Man / My Life (w/ brief “Yankee Doodle Dandy” intro) / Everybody Loves You Now / The Entertainer / Zanzibar / Allentown / Ballad of Billy the Kid / New York State of Mind (w/ Tony Bennett) / Big Man on Mulberry Street / Root Beer Rag / Movin Out / Goodnight Saigon / Don’t Ask Me Why / This is the Time (w/ John Mayer) / Keeping the Faith / Downeaster “Alexa” / Innocent Man (w/ “Stand By Me” leading into) / Boys of Summer (w/ Don Henley) / She’s Always a Woman / Captain Jack / Lullabye / River of Dreams (w/ “Hard Days Night” transition midway) / Pink Houses (w/ John Mellencamp) / We Didn’t Start the Fire / Still Rock and Roll / You May Be Right / Please Please Me (Beatles)

Encore: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant / Only the Good Die Young / She Loves You (Beatles) / Take Me Out To The Ballgame-> Piano Man / Souvenir

He made lots of local comments as he interacted with the crowd between numbers. At one point he said, “This is where New York meets Long Island. Queens — politically, that’s New York City. But geographically, we are on Long Island.” He explained to those further in the outfield that if they couldn’t see him, that he was a cross between Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. I wanted to scream that he should have held the Tom Cruise reference, but eh, no harm.

It’s funny — he mentioned that he’s blessed to still be doing what he loves even though it’s been more than ten years since he’s released new material. I realized both times I saw him he was on tour but not connected with the release of new albums (I believe one was when he released the album of classical music he composed and the other coincided with the release of a live CD). Definitely no one more appropriate to close out Shea as far as live concerts go. BJ noted that he remembered being some 13/14 years old when the stadium was constructed.

His final number of the encore “Souvenir” was one I was not familiar with. I looked up the lyrics this morning as I was curious to read through them. Last night it seemed almost a tad bit of a letdown in comparison to everything that built up beforehand. Having reread the words though, perhaps Billy had it right.

“A picture postcard
A folded stub
A program of the play
File away your photographs
Of your holiday

And your mementos
Will turn to dust
But that’s the price you pay
For every year’s a souvenir
That slowly fades away
Every year’s a souvenir
That slowly fades away”

Here are some of the good online articles on the show:
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/2008/07/17/2008-07-17_with_nods_to_the_beatles_billy_joel__pal.html
http://www.northjersey.com/betterliving/music/Billy_Joel_helps_say_goodbye_to_Shea_Stadium.html
http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/ny-etjoel0717,0,6737718.story
http://www.glidemagazine.com/hiddentrack/billy-joel-shea-night-1-setlist-and-review/

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3 thoughts on “he IS the entertainer

  1. ooooh, I am jealous! that must have been an amazing show!

    I saw U2 at Madison Square Garden several years ago, and that was pretty incredible!

  2. Lex – it was such a great show! Wow, U2 at MSG. That must have been an amazing one as well.

    Annie – I liked Downeaster Alexa even better live outdoors like that. The strong chords seemed to resonate more in the stadium. Kind of eerie and cool at the same time!

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