Billy Joel bade a stirring farewell to Shea Stadium on Friday during an electrifying, sold-out final show at the same ballpark where the Beatles famously ushered in a new era in rock 'n' roll four dec

Billy Joel bade a stirring farewell to Shea Stadium on Friday during an electrifying, sold-out final show at the same ballpark where the Beatles famously ushered in a new era in rock 'n' roll four decades ago.

He was joined by an all-star lineup of friends including Paul McCartney, who told Joel, "Came here a long time ago. We had a blast that night and we're having another one tonight."

"Good evening, Shea Stadium. Is this cool or what?" Joel told the crowd at the New York Mets' home field, which is to be razed after the baseball season to make way for a new stadium across the street. "They're gonna be tearing this place down, but I wanna thank you ... for letting me do the best job in the world," he said.

The show paid homage to Shea's baseball glories, with Mets highlights playing on jumbo screens during "Zanzibar." But the concert also was a mark of the stadium's place in music history.

Joel has always strongly embraced his New York and Long Island roots, and that makes for memory-making concerts every time he plays in the city. Throngs of fans know his music so well they can pretty much take over any chorus they like.

And as if the "Piano Man" playing the last concert at Shea wasn't thrilling enough, high-wattage guests turned up the excitement level.

Tony Bennett sang "New York State of Mind" with Joel on Friday, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler performed "Walk This Way," and Roger Daltrey of the Who did "My Generation. At the end of "My Generation," Joel smashed a guitar against the stage, breaking it in two.

McCartney came on at the end. He sang "I Saw Her Standing There" while on guitar and "Let It Be" on piano -- 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, and in the audience, one of Joel's famous fans -- ex-wife Christie Brinkley -- sang along, word for word, to the chorus of "She's Always a Woman."


AP LogoCopyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print