Billy Joel: Live At Yankee Stadium

Billy Joel: Live At Yankee Stadium (1990)
Sony Music
Cast: Billy Joel and band
Extras: Lyrics, Discography, Videography

On June 22 and 23 of 1990, Billy Joel entered the stage at the New York Yankee Stadium as port of his ’Storm Front Tour’ and since, the concerts have become legendary. Playing to sold out crowds in his own hometown, Joel rocks the audience with a variety of songs ranging from the soothing ’Piano Man’ to titles like ’Pressure’ and the opener ’Storm Front.’ Sony Music now gives us the chance to relive this rare Rock’n Roll moment on their latest DVD release.

I always enjoy the way Sony Music is presenting and editing their videos, as most of them also contain introductory footage at the beginning. Showing scenes from the set-up, soundcheck and other occasions that lead up the actual event, these moments nicely recreate the feeling one has when walking into the concert area for the first time, taking in all the sights and sounds for the first time, mentally preparing for the show to come. Sony gives us almost 7 minutes of footage to build up that excitement before Billy Joel takes the stage.

The picture quality of the release is generally good, although it is obvious that this is not brand new footage. Video technology in 1990 when the show was recorded just wasn’t quite as good as it is today and the picture comes across as a tad noisy and soft at times, and the heavy blue tinges have a tendency to bleed a little. Nothing to worry about though. In general the presentation is very good with good detail and the fact that the compression is without artifacts, makes sure the concert always looks powerfully rich in color and contrast.

More important than the video aspect is the sound reproduction and here, the DVD shines as expected. Offering a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix, as well as a stereo PCM track, the concert comes across in maximum overdrive. With good surround usage to create a life atmosphere. There is action around you everywhere. The dimensionality of the mix is very nice, putting the listener right in the midst of the audience. With beautiful clarity and entirely without distortion the presentation rocks in the trues sense of the word, and the recording’s good low end lends a lot of ’oompf’ to the concert that is so typical for energetic live performances. The PCM track while very nice indeed does not manage to capture most of this incredible tension in the air that comes across in the multi-channel mix.

The DVD also contains the song lyrics as subtitles – very nice touch – as well as information about others of Billy Joel’s music videos that are available.

The show has become legendary and it did so for a very good reason. ’Billy Joel: Live At Yankee Stadium’ shows us a flawless performance by Joel and his band with a series of classics from the artist’s repertoire. Supported by a frenetic hometown crowd this concert will blow you away!