Rockin' out at Shea
Today's Billy Joel concert at Shea marks the last concert at a venue that basically gave the world the stadium show, where tens of thousands of fans pour into a repurposed sports complex in order to rock out.
The Beatles' show, according to a great piece by Nicholas Wapshott in last week's Sun, played Shea because
The group's manager, Brian Epstein, turned to stadiums to meet the overwhelming demand from Beatles fans to see their young heroes. Looking for an enormous space to show off his lucrative acquisition, Epstein rejected the old Madison Square Garden as too small. When he was told the Garden was the largest venue in New York, Epstein responded, "Then we'll book football stadiums. We'll fill the largest arenas in the world."
That concert was followed by one by Grand Funk Railroad five years later, a band known today only by regular listeners of the local classic rock station.
Jethro Tull followed in 1976, along with the Who in 1982, Simon and Garfunkel in 1983, the Police in 1983, the Rolling Stones in 1989, Elton John & Eric Clapton in 1992, and Bruce Springsteen in 2003.
And Soundcheck will have a Shea rockrospective on WNYC this afternoon.
by David Freedlander