2008-02-13 / Front Page

'Last Play At Shea'

Photo Vinny DuPre Songwriter and performer Billy Joel discusses his plans to rock Shea Stadium one last time in the "Last Play At Shea" July 16. Photo Vinny DuPre Songwriter and performer Billy Joel discusses his plans to rock Shea Stadium one last time in the "Last Play At Shea" July 16. The New York Mets last Thursday announced that Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and native New Yorker Billy Joel will become the final artist to perform at Shea Stadium at what has been dubbed "The Last Play at Shea," on Wednesday, July 16, presented by Citi.

"Shea Stadium is one of the most hallowed venues in rock & roll history and it's an honor to help throw Shea the ultimate concert farewell party," Joel said. "As a sports fan and a music lover, I will always have a place for Shea Stadium in my heart. I thank the Mets for giving me and my fans a chance to rock Shea Stadium one last time for the ages."

Joel's exclusive Shea concert extravaganza will take place the night after Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in The Bronx. With his upcoming show at Shea, Joel becomes the first artist in music history to have played all four of New York City's premier sporting venues: Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium and Madison Square Garden, where, in April 2006, he broke the record for longest sequence of sold-out shows by a single artist (12).

Joel's July 16 performance at Shea will put a punctuation mark on America's birthplace of stadium rock. Shea Stadium played host to the Beatles Aug. 15, 1965. The first concert to be held at a major sports arena, the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium set attendance and revenue records, proving the viability of sports facilities as live music venues while giving rise to the modern live concert industry. The Beatles returned to Shea Stadium during the band's final American tour in August 1966. Other Rock & Roll Hall of Famers to play Shea include the Rolling Stones, the Who, the

include the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Police, Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix made a little known appearance at Shea for the 1970 Summer Festival for Peace. The Mets will move into Citi Field, their new home, in April 2009.

Having sold more than 100 million records from a career spanning more than 43 years, Billy Joel ranks as one of the most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in the world. He has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since signing his first solo recording contract in 1972. He received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award, presented for albums that have sold more than 10 million copies, for his "Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II".

"Movin' Out", a Broadway musical based on Joel's music choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and took home two including Best Orchestrations- Joel's first Tony Award win- and Best Choreography.

Joel has received six Grammy awards. In 1990, he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, he was presented with the Johnny Mercer Award in 2001. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His other awards include the ASCAP Founders Award, the BMI Career Achievement Award, the American Music Awards Award of Merit and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.

Joel has donated his time and resources to a variety of charitable causes and has recently launched an ongoing educational initiative to provide seed money, musical scholarships and endowments. Most recently, Joel created an endowment fund with the Philadelphia Orchestra's Billy Joel Fund for Music Education. He has previously donated to the music programs of New York University, the Juilliard School, Syracuse University, Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Purchase, the New England Conservatory, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Boston Symphony's Academy for Advanced Musical Study.

For his accomplishments as a musician and as a humanitarian, he was honored as the 2002 MusiCares Person of the Year by the MusiCares Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. He has also received a humanitarian award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The net proceeds of Billy Joel's new composition, "Christmas in Fallujah", inspired by soldiers' letters from Iraq, are being donated to Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for disabled service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tickets for "The Last Play At Shea" go on sale Saturday, February 16 at 9 a.m. exclusively at www.507TIXX.com. Citi cardmembers will also have access to purchase preferred seats through Citi's Private Pass® Program, available to all Citi cardmembers at www.privatepass.citi.com.

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