Live at Shea Stadium (2011)

Disc One 1. Prelude / Angry Young Man 2. My Life 3. Summer, Highland Falls 4. Everybody Loves You Now 5. Zanzibar 6. New York State of Mind 7. Allentown 8. The Ballad of Billy the Kid 9. She's Always a Woman 10.Goodnight Saigon 11.Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) 12.Shameless 13.This is the Time 14.Keeping the Faith Disc Two 1. Captain Jack 2. Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) 3. The River of Dreams / A Hard Day's Night 4. We Didn't Start the Fire 5. You May Be Right 6. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant 7. Only the Good Die Young 8. I Saw Her Standing There 9. Take Me Out to the Ball Game 10.Piano Man 11.Let it Be


When you still manage to sell out stadiums 18 years after you've stopped writing and recording music, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise when it seems you almost have as many "hits" packages and/or "live" releases as you do regular recordings. Such is the case with Billy Joel. When the historic Shea Stadium in New York City (where The Beatles made history back in 1965) was about to be torn down to make room for a new, improved ball park, it really seemed a great idea to celebrate its closing with none other than New York's finest. Tickets were in such high demand that a second show had to be added (ironic because the original ticket holders were now pissed because they were no longer going to witness the last show, since another one was added). It also shouldn't surprise anyone that the event was recorded, shot on video and had a plethora of guest appearances throughout both the nights. Had this been Billy Joel's only live album, it might have been more special. Although the show is incredibly strong, we can't help feel that we've already heard all of this before.

Since he had a fairly short recording career for a "legend", you have to remember that he didn't really have hundreds of songs to choose from when choosing a set list. No matter how much he may mix things up, you're not going to get many fresh songs that would make you want to run out and buy the package. Depending on your preferences, it might be a highlight to hear many of the songs here with all the guest aritsts. I think it's a mixed bag. For example, Tony Bennett joins Joel for New York State of Mind, a song that I confess hasn't really endured with me that well over the years. Yet Bennett's presence really gives you an entire new appreciation for the song. This song sounds like it was written for TOny Bennett, and the freshness resonates very strongly.

Sadly, he doesn't apply the same formula with his other guests. He invites Garth Brooks on stage ti accompany him on the song Shameless (that Garth covered and made a country hit), yet Garth basically sings the entire song solo. Why couldn't they do a duet? Or have him back up Billy on the vocals? I was a bit dissappointed since this is one of the few songs on the album that is making its freshman appearance on a live album. When Sir Paul McCartney joins him near the end of the show on I Saw Her Standing There and Let it Be, the same thing happens. It sounds like Joel is nowhere to be heard.

Throughout the show, Joel makes humorous jabs at his personal problems such as his marriage and driving mishaps. You just have to listen. It's nice that he's not taking himself too seriously. He even lets the crowd basically sing the entire Piano Man by themselves, which comes across as a bit odd. Normally he just let's them perform the chorus. It's a fun album, and delivers where it's supposed to and is an overall success. I would recommend 12 Gardens, though, if you only want one Billy Joel live disc set in your collection.
Back To Main Page
Go To The Next Review