Billy Joel bade a stirring farewell to New Yorkâ€™s Shea Stadium on July 18 during an electrifying, sold-out final show at the same baseball park where the Beatles famously ushered in a new era in rock â€˜nâ€™ roll four decades ago.
He was joined by an all-star lineup of friends including Paul McCartney, who said
to Joel, â€œCame here a long
time ago. We had a blast that night and weâ€™re having another one tonight.â€
â€œGood evening, Shea Stadium. Is this cool or what?â€ Joel told the crowd at the New York Mets baseball teamâ€™s home field, which is to be razed
after the baseball season to make way for a new stadium across the street. Theyâ€™re gonna be tearing this place down, but I wanna thank you... for letting me do the best job in the world.â€
The show paid homage to Sheaâ€™s baseball glories, with Mets highlights playing on jumbo screens during Zanzibar. But the concert also was a mark of the stadiumâ€™s place in music history.
The show came 43 years after the Beatlesâ€™ legendary show at Shea â€” the first concert at the ballpark. The concert came at the height of Beatlemania and demonstrated
the sheer power of rock â€˜nâ€™ roll and the Beatles: 55,000 screaming fans at a US ballpark was virtually unheard-of at the time, and the show gave the Fab Four even more cachet among the Beatle-crazed American public.
And as if the Piano Man playing the last concert at Shea wasnâ€™t thrilling enough, high-wattage guests turned up the excitement level.
Tony Bennett sang New York State of Mind with Joel, Aerosmithâ€™s Steven Tyler performed Walk This Way, and Roger Daltrey of the Who did My Generation. McCartney sang I Saw Her Standing There while on guitar and Let It Be on piano â€” the last song of the night. Joel sat on top of piano and sang backup.
Garth Brooks appeared on stage earlier wearing a Mets jersey. â€” AP