The $3,000-a-ticket Billy Joel show in the Hamptons Saturday was billed as "the ultimate rock 'n' roll fantasy," and it was — if your idea of rock and roll begins and ends with wretched excess. Upon arrival, guests were whisked to a quasi-secret location in a fleet of chartered buses that came so often they practically formed a train; once inside the perimeter, they had to contend with troupes of caterers, candy girls, cigar-toting Davidoff reps, and the like. We weren't too surprised to find megamagician David Blaine, bulkier than we remembered him, moodily walking around, but our hearts sank a bit once we realized the guy had been hired as pre-show entertainment. Because Blaine is mostly famous for very public acts of endurance, we inquired how long, in his estimation, he'd be able to continuously listen to Billy Joel. "Ha-ha," said the magician. "Seriously, he's awesome." (Actually, later, Billy Joel would prove to be, well, Billy Joel.)
The Police played New York last night for the first time since 1983, putting on a show of classics in the first of three gigs this week at Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium. We'd love to have Vulture's take, but the promoters wouldn't give our pals a ticket. (Keep an eye out for a review — based on attendance at honest-to-goodness, full-price admission — later this week.) There's nothing in the Times, either, but one presumes that's because Jon Pareles got out too late to make his deadline, not because the Police disliked him, too. The Daily Newsposts a notice today, though, finding the show a bit too tight and scripted. Still, wrote critic Jim Farber, "it's hard to carp about any show that highlighted a catalogue so rich in winning tunes and clever hooks, let alone one that delivered them with so much zest." Mmm zesty!
Celebrities are typically eager to tell you what they think about nearly any news event — except when it's summer, and they're on vacation, and they've stopped paying attention to the news. We bumped into Sopranos gals Edie Falco and Aida Turturro at the Dave Matthews concert for the Ross School, held in East Hampton Saturday night, and we asked whether Lindsay Lohan would ever work again. "I don’t know what goes on," Falco said. What about you, Aida? "I don’t know what happened," Turturro seconded. "I’m out in Montauk; I don’t even know." Shifting gears, we asked Joan Allen about Eliot Spitzer's recent troubles. "I’ve been gone a lot," she said, begging off. "I was in Greece with my daughter, and I just kind of got back. I’m out of the loop with what’s going on." Billy Joel, who's playing the next Ross concert was at least able to answer a question. What did he have on tap for next week? "For this kind of gig? I’m going to keep it hit heavy," he said. "I don’t think you want to go too obscure for these prices." No, no, you don't: Tickets to the five-show series cost $15,000. —Lillien Nathan
Al Gore's multi-continent, multi-hour Live Earth concert on Saturday was an impressive event for an impressive cause. But two days later, we're still trying to figure out just how impressively green it was, at least at its New York outpost at Giants Stadium. Gore, to his credit, rode Amtrak up from Washington, but, well, let's just say we're not sure everyone else made such an effort. At least some box seats at the stadium, we were told, had no glass enclosure — which meant that to keep VIPs cool, A/C was blasted on high throughout the concert, into the open air. The press was relegated to an aptly named media bubble, a giant off-white tent in the parking lot, which also offered A/C. (Not that we're complaining!) Volunteers stood by the trash cans, helpfully directing the garbage into one of three piles: compost, recycling, and “waste,” 90 percent of which, a sign promised, would be diverted away from the landfills. A man wandered through the tent, dispensing yogurt smoothies from a backpack connected to a squirt gun. There was no vegetarian option on the snack table — just ham and American cheese.
Missed a good show last night? Chances are it's been written up on Vulture, our sister blog. We're not proposing these posts as a remedy they're far more likely to piss you off further about not having been there than to allay the pain but at least you'll be able to fake your way around another band-themed conversation. Today in Last Night's Gigs: Polyphonic Spree, who have traded choir robes for futuristic army uniforms, and LCD Soundsystem (above), whose mastermind James Murphy was spotted channeling Andrew W.K. in a most unsavory fashion.
Polyphonic Spree Summon David BowieLCD Soundsystem Fans Clap Their Hands, Say 'Yeah' [Vulture]