Knowing these were to be the final musical performances at the Shea, Joel pulls out all the stops, playing to the crowd like its one big party. So what if theyre a little slow to pick up on which hit the band tackles before exploding into gracious applause? At least theyre appreciative. Joel even toys with them playfully, breaking away from opening notes of My Life to burst out a quick rendition of Yankee Doodle, or seguing from the Tin Pan Alley classic Take Me Out to the Ball Game into his own Piano Man.
The two-disc lineup is heavy on early hits with workingman appeal, including Allentown, Captain Jack and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. His Innocent Man of the MTV era is represented only by minor hit Keeping the Faith, while his final albums get more play with We Didnt Start the Fire (which is begging for a 20-year update), Lullabye and The River of Dreams, the latter of which connects with a cover of The Beatles A Hard Days Night.
Speaking of Beatles, one of them Paul McCartney joins Joel for a limp I Saw Her Standing There and the closing Let It Be. Other guest stars appear, too: Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks and John Mayer, none to great effect. Perhaps sensing gimmick overload, duets with John Mellencamp, The Whos Roger Daltrey and Aerosmiths Steven Tyler are contained only on the packages bonus DVD.
Ballads like Shes Always a Woman and Goodnight Saigon deflate the atmosphere a little, but when Joel kicks into rock gear, were reminded of his pop songwriting genius. Much like Shea to Mets fans, youre sorely missed, Bill. Rod Lott