As found on the Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page
Uncle G’s Classic Rock Blu-ray Collection
Spotlight: Billy Joel – Live At Shea Stadium – The Concert (released 2011)
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Originally Published: 14 Sept 2012
When it’s an off day from work, I love retail therapy. As long as the bills are paid, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding oneself for being responsible. A main hobby of mine; collecting music. Compact discs (audio), DVD’s and now Blu-rays. And I like finding stuff for sale. Why pay the full retail price when you don’t have to? What money-conscious consumer doesn’t like when an item they are interested in, is discounted? A timing thing, but so is winning the lottery. When it happens, it happens. I’ll even buy previously owned as long as it’s in good condition. Why piss cash away when it’s not necessary? So I buy new or used.
So there I am at Fry’s. Located in the southwest part of Houston. It’s an electronic store. Similar to Best Buy, but better. Sells a bunch of music CDs, and has a nice selection of classic rock DVDs, and Blu-rays. I noticed pricing on some of this stuff recently, has come down some. Looking through the J’s, I see what appears to be an odd looking CD case. Ends up being; Billy Joel_Live At Shea Stadium_The Concert. It’s a Blu-ray. Mixed in with the music discs. A fairly recent product, it came out last year. Fry’s is blowing this out at ten bucks, a pop. Once I picked it up, the item didn’t leave my hands until I handed it to the cashier so she could ring me up.
So I’m busy for a while catching up on past projects. The ‘Billy Joel – Live At Shea stadium – the Concert, blu-ray is near the TV. Then one night, I finally had the quality time needed so I could kick back and watch my latest find.
I’ve been a fan of Billy’s music since I was a kid. Remember hearing his first hit, ‘Piano Man’ when the song was first released (1973). amazing in a way but I have never seen Joel perform live. Always wanted to, just never had the opportunity to do so. Was seriously interested in the tour(s) he did with Elton John some time past. I heard a few illegal recordings (soundboard boots). The audiences they performed in front of, could not have been luckier.
I openly admit to being a piano/keyboard player fan. Mr. Joel calls himself; a piano player. My Mom played piano and accordion. She passed away when I was seven. I have memories of her playing in bars. She played professionally. The booze got her. Died at age 49. Seeing how I’m 51 years old now, I think of being 49 as still being somewhat kind of young. It’s weird actually living longer than a parent did. I find it so anyway.
Back when I was a young teenager, one of my best friends was taking keyboard lessons. Had a Hammond Organ. I would love to pretend to know how to play on that. Could barely play Chop Sticks. Classically trained pianist and keyboard extraordinaire, Gregory Zyskowski, would grow up to become new age recording artist; Greg Z. Back when we were kids, he taught me how to play the beginning of a VERY popular tune at the time; The Entertainer. From the movie, The Sting. Newman and Redford. Cool film staged around the 1930’s. I still remember how to play the opening bit on piano. Note for note. Pleased me so much being able to do that.
Now an adult, in the early part of the 21st century, I salvaged an old piano with the help of ‘Brother from another Mother’, Michael Bruce. The incident brought back memories for him of when the Alice Cooper group was new, and them having to move pianos. Never a fun experience. Long story short, five years later I sold the piano in which I never did restore. Places an ad on Craig’s List, letting it go for fifty bucks. The love was there. Opportunity, nor the money needed for the project just never came. An old instrument (1913 Upright Chickering). Am glad I found it a good home.
Back to Billy Joel, I have always dug beside his piano playing and his vocal style. He has a good voice for the type of material he does. His lyrics tell stories. Serious subjects like Vietnam, or something having to do with sex, his songs portray everyday life. Blue collar folks dig Billy. He’s the piano guy out there trying to make a buck (even if he’s now a real millionaire many times over). They identify. Females dig him and I’m like all surprised. Not the best looking guy on the planet. Surprise — Joel married supermodel Christie Brinkley in her prime. Didn’t last. Deserves a pat on the back for that, for sure. Dude puts out an album when all things were going well with her; An Innocent Man. Lots of hits. Got the country digging on the 50’s Doo-Wop groups again. I saw Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in concert around this time frame; early ’80’s. In Atlantic City, New Jersey. Rented a limo for the trip back and forth. From where I was staying in Long Branch, to the Golden Nugget Casino and back again. Stocked bar. All work and no play makes you dull. Was a wonderful and entertaining concert, that I’m sure the piano man would have enjoyed watching himself.
As a kid, I went to Shea Stadium to see Met games. Was located in; Flushing, New York. Think the character; Archie Bunker. I was a HUGE Met’s Fan. My idol was pitching ace, Tom Seaver. I so wanted to be a pitcher, when I grew up. Breathed baseball 24/7. Broke my arm at age eleven. Nasty break. I screamed like a little girl. Was set wrong. Ruined my throwing arm. ALL my pitches/throws were curves.
Baseball Memories: I saw Willie Mays in a Mets uniform play ball at Shea Stadium. Hank Aaron playing for the Braves, and Nolan Ryan with a Mets uniform on, throwing horribly. Early in his career. Ended up being inducted in baseball’s hall of fame. As was the other two stars I just mentioned. I so looked up to these guys. Lots of good memories of Shea. Knowing it was being dismantled after this concert, was kind of bittersweet.
Billy Joel (Live at Shea Stadium – The Concert – released in 2011)
Mister Joel starts off with an instrumental intro (very catchy) and into one of his many hits, ‘Angry Young Man’. Got a stage full of people with him. A talented group at that. Helps Billy perform almost flawless studio recreations from his vast catalog of songs. To what we call deep tracks, in which Billy tells the audience straight out, the song wasn’t a hit, comparing to others in his life that that sold millions. The DVD contains 25 tracks and 3 bonus ones. Concert performances were recorded in two nights (July 16 and July 18), back in ’08.
New York State Of Mind (Tony Bennett)
Shameless (Garth Brooks)
This Is The Time (John Mayer)
I Saw Her Standing There / Let It Be (Paul McCartney)
Walk This Way (Steven Tyler)
My Generation (Roger Daltrey)
Pink Houses (John Mellencamp)
Professionally filmed. Sounds great!!! Visually mesmerizing. It’s an awesome classic rock concert that I’m sure you’ll want to see yourself. A solid night of entertainment. Something to play in the background when friends are over. Ambitious setlist. Oh yeah…the guest stars!
Rating: Using the one to ten-star rating system (it’s a concert film), Uncle G gives this; 10 stars!
For updated Billy Joel information, please visit his official website: www.BillyJoel.com