Monday, February 11, 2008

FBO: 'What's So Funny about Creating a Weekly Schedule?'



Shea Stadium would hold about as much nostalgia to New Yorkers as a cleaned-up garbage heap if the Beatles hadn't played a horrible show at the Queens ballpark in 1965. As the Baseball Mets get ready for their last season at Shea (a new stadium, with a new corporate name, is being built next door: Citi Field), Bronx-born Billy Joel put on a non-Bronx Bomber hat and decided to play the last show ever there, called 'From Beatles to Billy,' on July 16 -- just two days after the FBO will tentatively play its show in the Oklahoma panhandle. From the Beatles to Billy? Really? When I first heard it, I though 'cool, Billy Idol's back,' but then all things went sour.

Mr Joel has done this sort of deal before. In the late days of the Soviet Union, Billy impressed himself with shows in Moscow in 1987 -- apparently kicking over a keyboard over a lighting issue in a nation not used to real rock concerts, and more used to censorship -- and finished up the shows with a cover of the Beatles' 'Back in the USSR.'

His misdirected tension may have an explanation: false sense of worth. Mr Joel -- who has maimed trees all over Long Island with his drunken escapades behind the wheel -- has been bitter ever since MTV revealed what a chump the Dylan-wannabe is (see him dodge his discomfort with videos). Though we applaud his laughable 'We Didn't Start the Fire' -- a riff on Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' and REM's 'It's the End of the World' -- it's hard to stomach the man himself. He has increasingly grown furious over why anthems, like the oversung and overwritten 'Scenes from an Italian Restaurant' ('a bottle of red, a bottle of white-uh, whatever suits your ap--pe--tite'), didn't automatically qualify him for critic love.

His '80s-and-on strategy has been clear: link himself with greater artists so their iconic legend will rub off -- like it did for Tomothy Petty when he buddied up with George Harrison and Bob Dylan in the late '80s. In the Russian broadcast of his Moscow show, note how Mr Joel added George Gershwin (a la critically loved Woody Allen's score in 'Manhattan'). Then see how Mr Joel earnestly links himself with the Beatles and the Stones in a priceless 1986 video at the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame (go to the 3:15 mark). Later, Mr Joel toured with Elton John to ebb up both of their sagging, post-80s careers. It worked. Nationwide sheep fans bought in, but we didn't. And we aren't now.

This July, the FBO encourages all fans to be either recovering from the Guymon blow-out, or watching the Yankees, as Bill Joel -- the Bronx Kid -- should be.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY


Trott said...

The link for the priceless 1986 video is actually a repeat of the link to the Gershwinized Moscow footage. Please correct this! I want to see footage that is priceless!

ReidOnTravel said...

Very good catch. Now corrected, and now priceless.