Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beatle/Joel - Sir Paul Helps Billy Joel Say Goodbye to Shea

Due to the unlikely pairing of Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, July 18, 2008 will go down as a very special entry in the concert-going history books of my life. I will have the pleasure of telling my kids about the day their daddy saw Paul McCartney give Shea Stadium a proper send off. After all, Shea has become as synonymous with The Beatles as it has with The Mets (at least as far as I'm concerned) due to that fateful show back in 1965 when The Beatles played the first proper stadium/rock concert at the same ballpark. And tonight, Shea was given the gift of one more musical footnote. After the numerous Beatles teases and full blown cover songs were played at Wednesday night's Billy Joel show, he brought the real deal out when Sir Paul was introduced late into the three hour show after reportedly just landing from a transatlantic flight. Paul McCartney made his way to the microphone and sang a rousing rendition of 'I Saw Her Standing There' with his Hofner bass in tow.

The night had many other phenomenal guest vocalists. So many, in fact, that it would have made Live Aid blush. Well, at least Live 8. We got Tony Bennett reprising his take on 'New York State of Mind' from Wednesday, Garth Brooks singing 'Shameless', Steven Tyler doing 'Walk This Way', Roger Daltrey singing 'My Generation' with Billy smashing a guitar, and the aforementioned Sir Paul who later came out to also play 'Let It Be'.

Even without these rock (and country) behemoths on hand, it was obvious that Billy Joel had a canon of songs that can rightfully fill a stadium on their own. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, The Entertainer, She's Always a Woman, Captain Jack, and Innocent Man brought me right back to high school and growing up. Speaking of growing up, Billy looked every bit of his 59 years...but he damn sure belted out songs and worked the crowd like a man half his age.

For everyone there, this night will ultimately be remembered for the appearance of Sir Paul. In deference to him, Billy even allowed Paul to close out the night and therefore play the last ever song at Shea Stadium. The song was very ironically Let It Be...with the impending demolition and all. But I don't think anyone read too much into that, I doubt Paul was sending a subtle message to save the place, and after all, its the memories that will continue on.

Billy Joel said it best:

This is the time to remember,
Cause it will not last forever,
These are the days,
To hold on to,
Cause we won't
Although we'll want to

Quick Clip I Shot:
I Saw Her Standing There
Billy Joel/Paul McCartney
Shea Stadium, Final Concert

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