Photo: WireImageYou gotta give it up to Oprah Winfrey! The woman knows how to throw a party! On Thursday’s kick-off for the 24th season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, 21,000 fans packed the streets of Chicago and performed one of the biggest group dance numbers in the world as the Black Eyed Peas rocked out on stage to an ode-to-Oprah version of "I Gotta Feeling."
What can we say, Miss O...you certainly painted the town, and shut it down!
Mazel Tov! (L'Chaim!)
Photo: Lisa Wagner/BlogHamptons.com"Your Queen, my Queen, the Queen of Soul...ARETHA!"
That was the exuberant and fitting intro her band leader boisterously exclaimed to the crowd gathered at Ross School in East Hampton.
Celebrity guests like Christie Brinkley, Rosie Perez, Bethenny Frankel and Joy Behar filled the front row tables and rose to their feet when the living legend that is Aretha Franklin took the stage. Now 66 years-young, Aretha began what would be a 75 minute powerhouse concert filled with the energy and vocal range expected of someone 40 years her junior. Why she even needed a microphone was a mystery to us, as Aretha still has the power and delivery in her voice to command the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. from an audience 10 miles away.
For a woman with twenty Grammy Awards and twenty number-one singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart under her belt, the undisputed Queen of Soul shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With a new album in the works and more special performance dates scheduled, Aretha Franklin continues her extraordinary musical journey, a journey which began for her as a young gospel singer back in Detroit in 1956.
We caught up with Christie Brinkley after Aretha's performance at Ross and the super mom was literally at a loss for words. "I lost my voice" the gorgeous but raspy and barely audible Brinkley tried to tell us. "Wasn't she amazing? I mean, I got goosebumps. I sang, I cried...look at me," Brinkley whispered while trying to repair the faint remnants of makeup left on her face. "It was incredible and she is absolutely amazing."
We couldn't agree more, Christie!
While we send some lozenges Ms. Brinkley's way, you can enjoy a bit of Aretha's performance at Ross right here on Blog Hamptons iTV.
Photo: Lisa Wagner/BlogHamptons.comKid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd rocked Bryant Park this morning for the Good Morning America Concert Series. Lynyrd Skynyrd joined Kid Rock to perform his latest smash single, All Summer Long - the quintessential summer feel-good tune that features riffs from Skynyrd's own "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London". The track is off Rock's album, Rock 'N Roll Jesus, which was released way back when in 2007. But Rock, being the whiskey drinkin', lady lovin', savvy business man that he is, demanded the track be held for a summer release, as opposed to the Fall 2007 release the record company wanted. The track's cross-over, charting success on country, rock, Top 40 and adult-contemporary radio proved that a bad-boy-bruiser from Detroit knows best when it comes to knowing his music and his audience. And his audience certainly returned their appreciation this morning by packing the lawn at Bryant Park - with some arriving as early as 5:30 AM for a prime spot in front of the stage at the free, general admission concert. Drawing everyone from pre-teens to retired bikers, Rock and Skynyrd gave the folks at GMA a brief look into their current “Rock And Rebels Tour,” which will roll into our area on August 30th at PNC in Jersey.
Blog Hamptons was at Bryant Park bright and early to bring you the hottest pics from Kid Rock's performance at the Good Morning America Concert Series. (Video coming soon!)
Photo: Lisa Wagner/BlogHamptons.com
Photo: Lisa Wagner/BlogHamptons.comNikon at Jones Beach Theater welcomed Elvis Costello and The Police to their sea-side amphitheater with a sold-out crowd on Monday night. The Jones Beach shows mark the end of their North American tour which is said to be a final farewell to fans. Two die-hard fans from Massapequa explained to us last night that The Police - Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland - never officially broke-up (they simply took a "sabbatical") so this reunion tour has been a welcomed treat for fans who longed for a sense of finality & closure and those who always felt a little gypped that the band they loved slyly faded from existence when they weren't looking. Judging by crowd reactions on Monday night, I'd say the masses were certainly appeased and while a farewell tour never turns out to be an actual farewell tour, at least for now, 14,000+ fans at Jones Beach have some closure.
The Police perform one last show at Jones Beach tonight and will perform their final show together at Madison Square Garden as a fundraiser for public television.
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.
Let it be, let it be, .....
And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Billy Joel's TRUE Last Play at Shea is undoubtedly being scribed onto the walls of The Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame as we speak. Beside the text that will attempt to describe this night, will be an image of Sir Paul McCartney sitting at Billy Joel's piano, with the Piano Man himself perched atop it like a jazz singer in a speakeasy. It'll show how the hometown hero encouraged the lad from Liverpool to transform his audience of 55,000 ordinary people into one harmonic choir that sang out to Mother Mary under the open, midnight sky. And while we'll always be a little heartbroken that it won't be our image that hangs on the wall, we'll always know we were part of the choir.
Photo: Lisa Wagner/SplashNews.com
We're heading back to Shea Stadium tonight for the final installment of Billy Joel's Last Play at Shea. Wednesday's three-hour-plus performance proved to be every bit the history making event that Billy Joel die-hards and fans of Shea's hallowed grounds were expecting. From the 15-piece orchestra to the power-house guests, it was a night full of nostalgia, great music and a camaraderie that left everyone in a New York State of Mind.
From the moment those familiar words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National Anthem," echoed throughout the ballpark, the energy was palpable. Joel, now carrying 59 years worth of memories and melodies on his back, schlepped onto the stage in a way that any average Joe might step onto the LIRR. Without an ounce of pomp or circumstance, quite matter of factly, as if oblivious to the more than 55 thousand spectators who had come to see him do his job. Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood in the third row, his hand placed firmly over his heart, proudly singing along as Joel reminded a stadium full of post 9/11 New Yorkers that we are still "the land of the free and the home of brave."
From the National Anthem, Joel went straight into Miami 2017, a classic homage to the five boroughs whose lyrics were appropriately tweaked to tribute the reason behind this mass gathering. “They said the Mets can stay, but they can’t play at Shea.” The Piano Man's stage was poised on center field with the new stadium as its backdrop. It was a fitting memorial to the old, and a grudging nod to the new, a dichotomy that was not lost on yours truly. As I walked through the press gate into the bowels of Shea, I couldn't help but think of my Grandfather walking these very halls, tired and probably sunburned after a long day at work. As the Mayor and his entourage scooted past me in a golf cart, I realized the depth of history these grounds hold dear and the stories these walls could tell. And as I walked onto the field and tried to absorb the enormity of it all, I couldn't help but look to the stands and wonder where my mother and father must have sat, some 43 years ago, back when John, Paul, George and Ringo first brought America what we have come to know as Stadium Rock.
The nostalgia of it all continued through each of Joel's stellar songs. Angry Young Man, Movin' Out, Zanzibar...his set was a musical looking glass that took every Brenda and Eddie and self proclaimed Big Shot back through their own archives and memories of life in this amazing, eclectic region. When his first special guest of the night turned out to be another beloved New Yorker, Anthony Dominick Benedetto, a.k.a Tony Bennett, the screams and cheers almost brought down the walls of Shea early. Doing a duet with Joel on New York State of Mind, Bennett projected the same admiration for New York, from Chinatown to Riverside, that Joel did. And the guests kept on coming as John Mayer joined in on guitar for This Is The Time and John Mellencamp and Joel sang Pink Houses, along with the 55 thousand backup singers that filled each and every seat. Don Henley was another well received though less surprising guest, as those who were lucky enough to secure parking on the grounds nice and early could hear Boys of Summer performed during sound check.
This night was all about the grand history of Shea, the history of the city of New York, and the history and common ground those of us in the burbs share with all in between. So the night wouldn't be complete without acknowledging the Fab Four who started it all back in August of 1965. "I want to thank the Beatles for letting us use their room. Best band that ever was, best band that ever will be," Joel told the rabid crowd, and he fed their frenzy with tributes like A Hard Day's Night, Please, Please Me and She Loves You.
If tonight's performance proves to be half of what Wednesday's was, there will be no need for a wrecking ball this fall, as each of the thousands of people filling the stands at Shea will have shook loose any mortar holding together the revered mammoth monster on Roosevelt Avenue.
Photo: Lisa Wagner/SplashNews.comWe'll be back with a full review tomorrow afternoon!
But just know this...If you don't have tickets to Billy Joel's Last Play at Shea on Friday - GET THEM!
Tonight's show included Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Don Henley, and John Mellencamp. And there's no telling what's in store for Friday!
Call in favors, get to scalpin' - do whatever you have to do!
It was THAT good!
Photo: Lisa Wagner/SplashNews.com
Hey everyone! Happy Hump Day!
After a missing out on a lot of great parties this weekend, we are getting ready to head into Queens for THE biggest party of them all - night one of Billy Joel's Last Play at Shea! I personally shoot a lot of concerts throughout the year but none compare to the excitement of being able to photograph Billy Joel at a sold out, and history making, concert at Shea Stadium. This show has a lot of sentimental meaning to me as well. Aside from growing up on Long Island and having Billy's music prominently featured on the soundtrack of my life, my Grandfather worked at Shea for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, he brought my mother and her boyfriend (the same man who would later become her husband and my father) to the very first "play at Shea" - The Beatles - back in August of 1965. We thought it was only fitting to bring my mother back to Shea for the very last show this Friday. It should be a bittersweet night.
We'll be back tomorrow with pics of the show, the fans, and the legendary stadium! Until then, enjoy Billy Joel's The Stranger 30th Anniversary Teaser on his official YouTube channel.
"Behind The Stranger"
Photo: Lisa Wagner/SplashNews.comTonight was one of those nights that make up for everything else that went wrong during the week. Just 24 hours ago I was soaking wet, hopelessly exhausted and humming like Rain Man to the high pitched ringing in my left ear caused by a too-close-for-comfort lightning strike. Understandably, I wasn't feeling too enthusiastic when I got in the car tonight and set off for Farmingdale. But, off I went anyway...
Destination - The Crazy Donkey
Mission - Mr. Eddie Money
The view on the way to the lawn seats! Photo: Lisa Wagner/SplashNews.comThe next time I leave the house, it will be in pair of galoshes and an industrial strength poncho! I'll be wearing goggles, carrying an umbrella and lugging around a sump pump in a water repellant, yet hopefully stylish, handbag. For I am officially over this weather! No matter what the weather man says, no matter how bright the sun shines...I will never be caught off guard again!
For the better part of Wednesday, I was encouraged by mostly blue skies. I took it as a good sign that my evening at the Brookhaven Amphitheater wasn't going to end in disaster. I couldn't have been more wrong. Since I'm still drying out and I'm sure you'd rather not hear all of the expletive driven, tedious details...I'll go straight to the photo caption we submitted to the papers:
Blondie is currently touring to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their first chart topping album, Parallel Lines, but their celebratory stop on Long Island almost didn't happen. The Brookhaven Amphitheater in Farmingville was forced to evacuate its packed house of ticket holders as a thunder and lightning storm was rapidly approaching the open-air venue. The crowd scrambled to take shelter in their cars where they waited with baited breath for the storm to pass and security to re-open the gates. After about 40 minutes and one spectacular lightning show, General Manager James Faith made a difficult decision. The show would go on - but minus Blondie's opening act and area favorites, The New York Dolls. The crowd wasn't too happy to hear the news, and apparently neither was Deborah Harry. When Blondie finally hit the stage she told the crowd, "I am so pissed off I didn't get to see The New York Dolls!"
Add to that the fact that Deborah Harry's Tour Manager banished credentialed photographers to shoot from LAWN SEAT LEVEL, and you have yourself one humdinger of a night!
I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.