Billy Joel Safe At Home In Final Play At Shea

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Billy Joel
Live at Shea Stadium: The Concert
Sony Legacy, $13.98

While not a Queens-bred boy, what better choice for a musical performer to close out Shea before its demolition than Billy Joel? Filmed over two nights in July 2008, this 2-CD/1-DVD package offers a great overview of Joel's career, and the Piano Man sings and plays with a gusto fitting for the occasion.

But while many highlights include some of his best-known songs ("She's Always a Woman," "You May Be Right," "Captain Jack"), it's the many lesser-known numbers - "Summer, Highland Falls," "Zanzibar," "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" - that really make an impression. Ultimately, the generous 25-song set list is wisely balanced to appeal to all levels of fans.

The DVD also looks and sounds great. From the light show to the frequent aerial and interior camera shots showing the sheer vastness of the stadium and audience close-ups, it's a production of top notch. A little behind-the-scenes footage, like that in previous Joel documentary Last Play at Shea, would have been welcome, though.

Joel also welcomes some well-matched guest performers including Tony Bennett ("New York State of Mind") and John Mayer (who contributes shimmering guitar to the deep cut "This is the Time"). But it's the appearance of Paul McCartney - who knows a thing or two about playing Shea Stadium - that brings the show to another level, and it's 1965 all over again with "I Saw Here Standing There."

Joel also generously allows the Knight of the Realm the final say, with an emotional (if rote) closer in "Let it Be." The DVD bonus footage also includes songs with Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, and John Mellencamp.

While Live at Shea Stadium breaks no new ground - especially if you've seen him live in the past decade - it is a solid show that fires on all cylinders and reminds the viewer just how great the Joel's catalogue is. And speaking of that...

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