The Billy Joel concert film "Last Play At Shea" had its premiere last night at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The movie of the last concert ever played at Shea Stadium is getting some good reviews. Although I am not a big Billy Joel fan, I thought his selection as the last artist at Shea was a good call. Besides being a local boy, Joel respects the history of rock and roll. As expected, he paid appropriate tribute to She's contributions to rock music, in the concert and this film.
(And if you are unclear on Shea's impact on music, stop reading and go to our SHEA ROCKS section.
The Stones, The Who, The Beatles. The Concert for Peace. Grand Funk Railroad. The Clash. The Police. REM. Are you experienced?)
Here is a review of the film from today's NY Post
. I definitely will check this flick out soon:What do the Mets and Billy Joel have in common, other than a propensity for sudden crashes? More than you'd think, according to a documentary premiering tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival.
"Last Play at Shea" focuses on Joel's 2008 concert at Shea Stadium, the last ever at the doomed venue. The show intertwines with the life stories of the singer, Shea and the Amazin's.
"The Mets dropped off as New York was in big trouble [in the '70s], and Billy moved back to New York from LA in '76 and wrote 'New York State of Mind,'" says director Paul Crowder. "We chart those stories and all the ups and downs happening at the same time. And throughout, the concert is driving the story."
So while the film tells three separate stories, it connects them in surprising ways. Take the tale of the Mets' first game at Shea after 9/11.
"Mike Piazza hit a home run late in the game," says Crowder. "It was very emotional, and the concert music played underneath it is 'Goodnight Saigon,' because Billy had the fire department and police choirs singing onstage with him. There were firemen almost crying at the game, and [the shot] dissolves into firemen singing with Billy. It makes for a powerful moment."
Elsewhere, Joel tells how seeing The Beatles at Shea inspired him, which leads to him playing the last show at Shea with Paul McCartney. We also learn how miraculous it was that McCartney even got there that night, given that his plane from England didn't land at JFK until 11 p.m.
"They got somebody at air traffic control -- I think it was through Billy's dentist -- to clear airspace so Paul's plane could land early," says Crowder. "They put him in a car with a police escort, and 'flew' him to Shea in 11 minutes."
While the film touches briefly on Joel's rougher patches -- financial battles with a former manager are scored to "Honesty" -- Crowder focused on positive moments, such as Christie Brinkley saying she'd always wanted the best for Billy, with "Lullaby" playing behind her.
Crowder could have simply made a biopic or concert film, but this "is more interesting because you've got more than just one person's life," he says. "The concert is at the stadium, and that stadium has history. You've got to tip your hat to the stadium."