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Billy Joel Pulls Out All The Stops In Heartfelt Documentary ‘The Last Play at Shea’ | Decider | Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go

Billy Joel Pulls Out All The Stops In Heartfelt Documentary ‘The Last Play at Shea’ | Decider | Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go

Billy Joel Pulls Out All The Stops In Heartfelt Documentary ‘The Last Play at Shea’ | Decider | Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go
August 05
09:30 2017

With his maudlin piano ballads about ethnically ambiguous lovable losers moving up and movin’ out, Billy Joel is as quintessential a New York music icon as Lou Reed, the Ramones or Biggie Smalls. As such, he was invited to be the last musician to perform at the storied Shea Stadium, located in the borough of Queens, and home to baseball’s lovable losers, The New York Mets. After the 2008 baseball season it became a parking lot for its replacement, Citi Field, and Joel’s concerts there on July 16 and 18, 2008 form the basis of the confused but heartfelt 2010 documentary The Last Play at Shea, which is currently available for streaming on Hulu. Let’s get this out of the way: Ever since I played my sister’s copy of 52nd Street one too many times when I was 8 years old, I kind of can’t stand Billy Joel’s music. Too much piano, not enough rock, and if it ain’t country, I don’t do maudlin. That said, Joel seems like a good guy. “I’m a kid from Levittown. I don’t even look like a rock star,” he says early on. Goddammit, they’re trying to make me like him. And hey, there’s even a few songs of his I do like. “Captain Jack”? That’s aight. And, admittedly, “New York State Of Mind” gets this Big Apple native verklempt in the same way as “New York, New York” or JAY-Z’s similarly titled “Empire State of Mind.”Being as the concert is taking place in a baseball stadium, Joel of course opens with “The National Anthem.” From there it’s on to “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” but halfway through the song it starts cutting to various New York Mets talking about the clunky overbuilt municipal stadium’s “magic.” I guess now is the right time to declare that while I am not a fan of Billy Joel, fortunately or unfortunately, I do root for the New York Mets baseball team. Having spent many an afternoon and evening at Shea watching the team struggle and occasionally make the year’s of disappointing seasons seem worth it, magic is not a word I would use to describe Shea. ’86 Mets great Darryl Strawberry gets it right when he says, “It was a dump, but it was our dump.”Out of nowhere, we then segue into an at-times animated featurette on the history of Shea Stadium narrated by fellow Long Island jagoff Alec Baldwin. He starts by declaring all of pre-development Queens an “ash heap,” which is not only insulting (yo, I’m from Queens), but also factually incorrect. Their history of the stadium’s building and how The Mets ended up there also glosses over facts to fit its own narrative. They then start singing the praises of famed and somewhat controversial city planner Robert Moses, who inaugurated Shea’s construction, before explaining how his building of the Cross Bronx Expressway precipitated the the Joel family’s move to suburban Long Island.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––This then leads to a biography of Joel himself. His hunger to get out of the suburbs with a variety of bands, one of whose drummer’s wives he ended up stealing (OK, maybe he’s not such a good guy). In discussing his music, he discusses The Beatles influence on him, which leads us back to Shea Stadium and the band’s 1965 North American tour kickoff. Funnily enough, it was playing baseball stadiums that soured The Beatles on playing live, as their music was broadcast over inadequate PA systems, and usually drowned out by legions of screaming girls. This then leads to Joel playing the band’s “She Loves You,” but again, it’s cut off mid-way through with another voiceover.So it goes for the next hour, vacillating between a chronicle of Shea Stadium highlights, Billy Joel’s life story, and abbreviated performances of his songs. It’s really quite confusing as we segue from the ’69 Mets to a montage of famous bands playing the venue to Billy Joel’s struggles with life, love, and money. Along the way we meet longtime Shea groundskeeper Pete Flynn, who worked for The Mets from their inaugural season until 2011, and famously drove The Beatles onto the field for their momentous concert. Joel meanwhile moves back to New York, replete with fame, fortune and terrible business decisions, including hiring as his wife as his manager, then divorcing her and hiring her brother as his manager. He bounces back with hot supermodel wife Christie Brinkley who gives him an ’80s makeover, and then its time for the ’86 World Series, when the hard partying Mets almost blew their shot and bounced back with one of the greatest sports upsets of all time to win the championship.Things draw to an emotional conclusion as the documentary recounts the Mets dramatic win over archrivals The Atlanta Braves on September 21, 2001, the first major league baseball game played in the city following the terrorists attacks of September 11th. Then we’re back at the Billy Joel concert for Paul McCartney’s dramatic appearance as a musical guest. At first unsure of whether he could make the show, the former Beatle rushed to the stadium in time for a couple of encores. Who drove him through the stadium?

Source: Billy Joel Pulls Out All The Stops In Heartfelt Documentary ‘The Last Play at Shea’ | Decider | Where To Stream Movies & Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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