Last Night at Shea.

19 07 2008

This is a picture of Paul McCartney singing “Let It Be” last night at Shea Stadium. It’s actually a picture of him on the gigantic screen as I was sitting much too far away to see the actual Paul McCartney. 

Months ago, before I knew I would be returning to the States for good, Dennis and his family tried to buy tickets to the final Billy Joel show at Shea Stadium, but the show was sold out within an hour or so, which was not really a surprise. The next day they got word that Billy Joel would be singing a second “final” show and so they waited for an hour and a half on the phone lines, engaging all of us with cell phones to call in and try to get access. Needless to say we got the tickets. 

Last night was the show and it was incredible. More than sixty thousand people filled the stadium, dancing and singing along with Billy Joel. At times, when he played a song like “Movin’ Out” or “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” people jumped up and started dancing. And when that happened, the entire stadium shook. Not just shook, the but the concrete platform we were standing on, way up at the top of the stadium, undulated beneath our feet. It was like standing on a waterbed, and one of the freakiest things I’ve experienced. 

Oh, but it was a fabulous show. Steve Tyler, Garth Brooks, Tony Bennet, Roger Daltrey from The Who, and Paul McCartney all came on as surprises, McCartney twice. The final song of the entire show was McCartney singing “Let It Be,” and it was one of the most surreal things I’ve seen. An actual Beatle singing “Let It Be”? I tried to call my mom so she could listen as it started but for whatever reason the connection failed. Perhaps it was the sixty thousand other people doing the same thing. 

Another amazing moment was when he sang “Good Night Saigon,” and during the chorus, men and women in uniform stood on stage and sang…”And we’ll all go down together…“. I’d seen Billy Joel perform this song years ago in Boston at the Fleet Center, and he’d done the same thing then—-inviting soldiers up to sing. But last night? It was a much more real chorus, knowing we’ve been in war for six years. The crowd was hushed and reflective during the song, but when the uniformed singers came out, the cheers that rose from the audience spoke volumes of patriotism and pride in the soldiers who actually are going down together. And there was a sadness, too. I won’t lie: I was moved to tears.

But my favorite part? Was actually the first song Billy Joel sang. It was “The Star Spangled Banner.” Maybe it was a formality, maybe it was tradition seeing that we were in Shea. But I took it much more personally. Coming home from Brazil, deciding to move here to New York, knowing the US is my home, that song last night felt so good to hear and to sing along to. And I sang so loud.  Sang right through the part when most people start cheering “o’er the land of the free”  all the way to the end of “and the home of the brave.”  And when it was over, I joined the thousands there in jubilant cheers. Lifted my voice with all the others and felt welcomed home.  


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7 responses

19 07 2008
lynne cheslin

I so love the feel of this blog……..I felt your excitment!!!

20 07 2008
andrea

so years from now when your children are listening to Billy Joel music and you tell them I saw him live in concert, they will look at you in disbelief how could my mother be that cool….
another great memory

20 07 2008
Auntie Di

What a concert!! I’ve seen several of these performers but the best was all four of the Beatles when they first “came over”. It was the Chicago amp. and we got 10th row seats. God, were they cute/awesome. We could actually hear them singing every word( which was not possible for most of the audience) while fans threw raw steaks and jelly beans(two of their favorite foods at the time) on stage. Fans were passing out from excitement and the police were kept busy just dragging them away. My ears “rang” for at least three days. John was definately the coolest and kept giving me “the eye” during the concert….in my dreams of course.

20 07 2008
Em Craig

Felt your pride and stimulation, lass….appreciate you so much Gina and for all you do! You and your Mom are just the greatest…..Loved and felt your goosebumps at the SSB and glad to see the “younger generation” feels the same as us old coots!!! and to hear Paul McCartney ….am sooooo jealous!
Huge hugs, Em

21 07 2008
Susan

Wow! I will always love hearing the Star Spangled Banner. Something always yanks at the heart strings when it is sung.
My friend was visiting her daughter in NYC and realized as she stood on the street corner that the person next to her was Paul McCartney. She nearly fainted dead away she was so overwhelmed. Its so funny to hear her tell about how many blocks she followed him. Hiding behind different items so he wouldn’t think she was stalking him. By the time she stopped she was lost, but completely happy at her star sighting.

21 07 2008
lilikaofthelake

Welcome Home!!! Concerts are so amazing and we are so lucky to have the freedom and the ability to go to them.

It’s hard to believe that we have been at War for over 6 years – no real end in sight. It is good to be reminded of our children at war and how we miss them.

25 07 2008
ladybughugs

Billy Joel is my all-time favorite concert. I saw him many years ago in the Meadowlands, I think (maybe Madison Square Garden). We sat behind the stage and could see over his right shoulder and watch him playing the piano. It was an awesome night.

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