On July 16 and 18, 2008, Billy Joel performed the last concerts ever held at Shea Stadium in New York before it was shut down forever. Many guests made surprise appearances during the two nights – but none bigger than Paul McCartney who joined Billy onstage on July 18, 2008.
Today, a DVD documenting the historic concert was released called The Last Play at Shea: The Documentary Film. It chronicles the behind-the-scenes preparations and gives some history about the legendary Shea Stadium where The Beatles performed the largest rock concert at the time on August 15, 1965, and then returned again a year later on August 23, 1966.
On March 1, 2011, Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium – The Concert is being released on DVD, featuring the performances of Paul McCartney singing “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Let It Be”. Also included are guest performances by John Mayer, Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mellencamp, Steven Tyler and Roger Daltrey.
A 2 CD/1 DVD package set of Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium – The Concert is also being released in March.
Read an eyewitness report below from a Beatles fan who attended ‘The Last Play at Shea’ (originally published on Daytrippin.com in 2008)
Paul McCartney joins Billy Joel onstage for ‘The Last Play at Shea’ concert
Exclusive report and photos by Pat Tyson (pictured below)
(posted July 28, 2008)
When I heard that Billy Joel was going to be the last performer to play at Shea Stadium, I just HAD to be there!
I knew I had to attend the very last concert at Shea, since I, like so many teenagers from the tri-state area, had seen The Beatles perform there. In my case, it was 8/23/66.
So, last February, I logged onto the Shea Stadium server and patiently waited for my turn in the “virtual line”. I got a ticket for the 7/16/08 show; it was a “nosebleed” seat, but I was okay with that. Then I heard Billy Joel ADDED another show for 7/18/08 (my birthday!) and not content with attending the “next-to-the-last-show” at Shea, I knew I had to go through this process all over again! (You never know who might show up at the last show) So again I logged onto the server and again I scored a “nosebleed” seat.
Since it was my birthday I decided to do it up in style, and ended up getting a Loge seat from a ticket broker! That left me with two tickets to dispense of (7/16 nosebleed & 7/18 nosebleed) which I did by way of e-Bay! Read on for my report from the show:
Oh, man, did July 18th ROCK!!! The “Last Play At Shea” (Shea Stadium) started almost one hour late (9 PM instead of 8 PM). The place was packed! Billy Joel rocked…..brought out Tony Bennett (“NY State of Mind”)…..then we saw a bunch of security guards on the field RUN off the field in single file – a million miles a minute – and we wondered if it was for a “special guest”. Not every performer gets that kind of security.
There was a sign on the rafters that said “PAUL IS ALL” – so we were waiting for him (oddly enough, I remember the same sign there on 8/23/66 when I saw The Beatles at Shea – maybe the same girl posted it?). Then Billy sang “A Hard Days Night” and we all stood up in anticipation (but nothing!!!). Then Garth Brooks came out and sng “Shameless” which is a Billy Joel song.
Billy then played on and the next thing you knew it was Roger Daltrey!!!! Talk about getting your money’s worth (he sang “My Generation”). A few more Billy songs and then Steven Tyler from Aerosmith came out and sang “Walk This Way”……they both rocked!
Then Billy played and walked off the stage (the end or so we thought). So we kept applauding and saying B-I-L-L-Y and he came back…did another song and then left again…..same thing……we brought him back.
Then he says, “Ladies and Gentlemen………SIR PAUL McCARTNEY” and everyone went WILD! He and Billy played “I Saw Her Standing There” and brought the house down!!!! Macca got a rousing ovation and then left the stage.
Billy sang another song and then…….we got Macca again!!!!!! He spoke to the crowd and said that Shea Stadium had a special meaning for him and he was glad to be there! With that, he launched into “Let It Be” and of course the crowd sang along with him. That was the closing act!!!
How cool is Billy Joel to let another performer close his show – even if he is a Beatle! OH WOW!!!!!! Macca looked great too… had on a white shirt and dark pants and looked very handsome!
The crowd at Shea was a younger crowd – I was amazed!!! And when I took the Long Island Railroad home, I sat with everyone from the concert. The Long Island Railroad had to book extra trains to accommodate everyone and even printed a special “Billy Joel at Shea Stadium” train schedule!
Oh yeah and everyone that went to the concert got a laminated picture of Billy on a rope chain (you know those things that look like backstage passes). It’s for a free download of one of his songs from the concert.
Anyway, all of the younger kids on the train with me are huge Billy/Beatles fans so they were jazzed too! We heard this young kid in the back of the train talking on his cell phone to a friend and he said “yeah, the concert was great – some guy named Paul McCartney closed the show”. Our mouths dropped open in amazement!!!! That kid has a lot to learn!!
So to be able to close out Shea Stadium in such a spectacular way brought it “full circle” for me; The Beatles were the first band to play at Shea and I was lucky enough to see a Beatle be the last performer to play there before it closed!
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