When I took over the editorial reigns of Hidden Track back in January I needed to cut a few columns out of the picture in order to deal with the added responsibilities. One of those columns was Grousing The Aisles, a weekly look at the best audio and video recordings available on the ‘nets. Well, after a long-hiatus I’m pleased to announce the triumphant return of Grousing The Aisles.
In order to celebrate the return of GTA, we’re going to roll out a new edition of the column each day this week. After that, we’ll probably publish a new version of the column every two weeks. We’re gonna start Grousing The Aisles week by looking at an audio recording of the first of Billy Joel’s incredibly epic two-show run at Shea Stadium.
[Photo by Bruce Gilbert of Newsday]
There’s been plenty written about Billy Joel’s “Last Play at Shea” run, so we’re gonna focus on this above-average audience recording we found over at The Trader’s Den. As you can imagine Billy Joel isn’t exactly taper-friendly. The guy who made this recording had to sneak his microphones in ala What’s Happening’s Rerun at the Doobie Brothers’ concert. You’d expect the resulting tape to be tinny and filled with the audience singing along to every song, but you’d be wrong.
This recording sounds rich and captures the action pretty damn well. Sure, every once in a while you hear a Strong Island meathead call out for his favorite song, but those moments are few and far between. Billy’s voice sounds really good, although he struggles for some high notes. All of the guest appearances, including John Mayer’s ripping fills on This Is The Time, are just as good as you’d imagine them. We’re still on the lookout for audio from Friday night’s Shea-closing show, so let us know if you see it out there.