A little bit of Billy Joel comes to an episode of The CW’s “Arrow” Thursday (9 p.m., WPIX/11) but blink and . . . well, you know the line.
So just don’t blink.
In a rare use of actual concert footage, “Arrow” has incorporated a quick outtake from Joel’s performance of “No Man’s Land” from the 1993 album “River of Dreams.” An interesting choice — “No Man’s Land” is also the name of a 1999 Batman storyline by DC Comics (“Arrow” is also from DC Comics). But the song itself is rarely played. This particular outtake, which runs about five seconds, comes from Joel’s Aug. 4, 2015, concert at Nassau Coliseum, which closed down the old venue.
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As Comicbook.com noted in a recent post, Joel has had a prominent (albeit off-screen) role in this neck of the “Arrow-verse.” He’s been mentioned in various episodes, although Thursday’s — entitled “Thanksgiving” — is the first instance of Joel actually appearing on the series.
The background: Showrunner Marc Guggenheim, who grew up in Port Washington with screenwriter brothers Eric and David, told Entertainment Weekly recently, “I’ve been a fan of Billy and his music since I was 7 years old. He’s always been an inspiration to me, personally and artistically. I told him as much when I wrote to him to ask for his permission to use his concert footage in our episode and when he agreed, it was one of the happiest days of my career.”
Here’s the setup: While Oliver (Stephen Amell) is temporarily jailed (long story), the bad guy — Cayden James (Michael Emerson), Helix leader and hacker extraordinaire — decides to strike Star City, specifically a sold-out concert at the Starling Stadium.
Team Arrow learns of the evil plot. “Joel is playing there tonight,” gasps good guy and member of Team Arrow, Rene “Wild Dog” Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez). After he collects himself, he says to his fellow crimefighters, “I happen to like a wide variety of music, and ‘The Stranger’ is a treasured piece of rock and roll history.
Fortunately, Cayden’s dastardly plans are foiled by — spoiler alert — the Green Arrow!
But not before the concert is disrupted and the stadium is vacated.