New York 1977 (Trial-010)
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – December 11th, 1977
Disc 1: The Mexican Connection (opening tape), The Stranger, Somewhere Along The Line, Summer Highland Falls, Piano Man, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Travelin’ Prayer, Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), Still Crazy After All These Years, Just The Way You Are, Prelude/Angry Young Man, New York State Of Mind
Disc 2: The Entertainer, Vienna, Root Beer Rag, She’s Always A Woman, I’ve Loved These Days, Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway), The Ballad Of Billy The Kid, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Captain Jack, Say Goodbye To Hollywood, Only The Good Die Young, Get It Right The First Time, Souvenir
Billy Joel’s December 11th, 1977 concert at the Nassau Coliseum was broadcast on WNEW, one of New York’s AOR stations in the 1970’s. The source traded among collectors is sourced from a cassette recording from the actual radio broadcast including DJ comments and station IDs. Recently a collector took one of the master cassettes and edited out all of the intrusions to produce a definitive version. A part of this show was also released as New York State Of Mind (Honest-01), containing eleven tracks.The Trial label, who released New York 1977 in September 2004, seem to have obtained an actual master soundboard tape. This release is a fantastic near perfect stereo recording that shows no signs of hiss, compression, or DJs anywhere. The instruments are crisp and balanced and every nuance of the performance shines through. The only minor quibble is the balance between the music and the audience, where the engineer keeps adjusting the crowd noise during and between songs. It’s nothing serious but is observable.This is an inspired performance by Joel and his orchestra.
Obviously hitting a commercial peak with his breakthrough LP The Stranger, he’s also on playing, literally, in his backyard to the home crowd. The emphasis is upon the newest LP with eight out of the nine songs being performed (“Everybody Has A Dream” is the only omission). He apologizes to everyone who can only see his back and says that, since the show is being broadcast he has to watch what he says. “New York State Of Mind” is dedicated to the greatest baseball team in the world (NY Yankees, who just won their first championship in about fifteen years in 1977) and he sings “New York Times, The Daily News…and Newsday too”, throwing in the Long Island newspaper. The concert ends strongly with the rockers “Miami 2017” and “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” with a nod to the coming Christmas season with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. There is some evidence on tweaking with the tape, as are most releases out of Japan. It isn’t enough to detract though. Given how good this tape and concert are it really deserves a silver release instead of on cdr. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)