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Summer Music Review Part II

The second half of the summer was just about as exciting as the first half. I had a lot more concerts to go see and a few of them were ones I had been looking forward to for years.

For those of you who know the The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, it was a very long time since they last did anything in the music world. They had been on a hiatus since the release of “Jackknife to a Swan,” which featured the single “You Gotta Go.” That was all the way back in 2003. Bosstones fans had been waiting since that day for them to re-unite and give a few more of their legendary performances. They finally announced that they would play two shows in Boston, the “Hometown Throwdown.” Tickets for this event reached over $1,000 on the secondary markets, because no one knew if this would be the bands final appearance. To everyone’s relief it was not. They hit the road in late June with their long time friends The Dropkick Murphy’s. I was lucky enough to see them at Starland Ballroom, or rather, the parking lot of the historic venue.

The show was worth the drive from New York and then some. They played a string of their classics and some new songs off of their “B-Sides Album,” Medium Rare. I found something interesting that anyone who has never seen the Bosstones would never know, they have a member of the band who is for all intensive purposes, a dancer. He simply spends the entire show skanking (a form of dancing a ska concerts) onstage. The Dropkicks were equally impressive with their deep Irish rock, complete with bagpipes and banjo. The afternoon (yes it was an afternoon show) was something to remember and it was great for a lot of people in the crowd to finally get to see two legends of Alternative/Ska.

Very rarely do you see concerts (at least in my case) that would change the way you look at music. This summer there was one concert that stood on top of all the rest, and easily moved into my top 5 concerts of all time. I was able to get tickets to one of the final concerts to be performed at Shea Stadium (home of the New York Mets) by Billy Joel. This two-night event was historic in every way. This is the second time I had seen Billy but really the first since I new what music was. The show opened up just any event at a baseball landmark should, with Billy leading the crowd in the National Anthem, just before going into “Miami 2017”. From their him and the band played for an amazing 3 1/2 hours. For those of you that do not attend concerts regularly, this is incredible. Currently there are only two acts that I know to do this, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

Billy Joel’s show was only the beginning though. He brought on stage (over the two nights) legends such as John Mayer, Tony Bennett, Steven Tyler, and John Mellencamp. Of course Tony helped him with “New York State of Mind” while John Mayer wailed on guitar during “This is the Time.” Of course the night would not be complete without an appearance by one of the men who started the tradition of music at Shea Stadium. On the final night (night 2) Paul McCartney took to the stage playing a range of duets with Billy and finally ending the show with “Let It Be.” Paul McCartney along with the rest of the Beatles helped open Shea Stadium, playing there in 1965, the year after it opened. There was just something that told you this stadium couldn’t go down without an appearance by the Beatles leader. Whichever show you went to these two nights were historic in every sense of the word and will go down in my book as one of the greatest concerts in history. For anyone who did not attend the show, they are releasing it on DVD, which is due out sometime in 2009, titled “Last Play at Shea.”

Coming off of Billy Joel, I knew that the next few concerts I went to might loose some of their stature, but what better way to get over that than to see two legendary acts in one night. My final concert of the summer was at Jones Beach Theatre in Long Island, New York. I made the trip out there to see one band that I had high expectations for, and another band that I had always wanted to see. So what happened? The band I wanted to see was amazing, the other band did not even come close to hitting the bar. The band I wanted to see was Maroon 5. After Sara Bareilles opened the show with a lovely mix of piano, and rock, Maroon 5 took the stage and blew the crowd away. They have this ability to hit all the high notes and really put on a great show. They opened with “Harder to Breathe,” off of their first album “Songs About Jane.” They then moved into a great mix of new and old songs, many coming from their highly acclaimed sophomore album “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.” Their light show was equally amazing as their natural rock and roll roots. After they ended the show with “Sunday Morning,” the second band was soon to take the stage, and not meet my expectations. Maroon 5 spent the summer touring with the Counting Crows. I did not know very much from the Crows, but always new them for being legends in rock and roll. I was very un-impressed by their overall stage show and sound. Aside from a few songs that did blow me away with emotion such as “Colorblind,” (from Cruel Intentions), there was very little there to make me feel the show. Even the popular song “Mr. Jones,” was ill received by the sold out crowd. The crowd seemed to fall off after Maroon 5, and in my opinion, with good reason.

Well that does it for my summer of music.

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