Billy Joel plays last Shea Stadium concert

Monday, 18 August 2008
Billy Joel plays last Shea Stadium concertFOH engineer Brian Ruggles with the Studer Vista 5 SR.
USA- Billy Joel's Last Play At Shea marked the end of an era of historic concerts at Shea Stadium. With a star-studded line-up of musicians making guest appearances throughout the evening including Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Steven Tyler and Roger Daltrey, Billy Joel performed the last concert at the stadium. With the help of Sir Paul McCartney (who played the first concert at the stadium with The Beatles in August 1965), Billy Joel closed the show by accompanying McCartney on piano with a surprise version of Let It Be.

Joel's world tour began in January 2006 and has been touring ever since. The 2008 segment kicked off in Philadelphia, PA in January, making stops in California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Quebec, Louisiana, Connecticut, Virginia and finishing up with two shows in Flushing, NY at Shea Stadium. Joel resumes the second leg of his world tour with dates in Japan, Australia and New Zealand beginning in November.

Sound reinforcement for the tour was supplied by Pennsylvania based company Clair Showco, which has had a long relationship with Billy Joel. Many of the tour's key personnel have worked with Joel for multiple tours, including FOH engineer Brian Ruggles and production manager Bobby Thrasher, who have worked with Joel for over 33 and 27 years respectively, as well as monitor engineer Mike Pirich, who has been with Joel for the past 10 years.

When looking for a sound console for both FOH and the monitor positions, Clair Showco turned to the Studer Vista 5 SR for its portability, ease of use and sound quality. "The Vista 5 SR is capable of handling a lot of inputs," said Ruggles. "We've tried different digital desks before but I wasn't really thrilled at the way they sounded - until this one came along. The Vista 5 SR is by far the best sounding digital desk I've heard because it's closest to the sound of an analogue desk."

Crown Macro-Tech 3600VZ amplifiers and Clair Showco's custom JBL-loaded S4 loudspeakers were used for sound reinforcement during the Billy Joel tour. The Studer Vista 5SR is enabled with the Harman Pro Onboard HiQnet control protocol.

(Jim Evans)

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