On Friday, July 20, ride up to Fairview Farm at Mecox in your limousine wearing your fine Park Avenue clothes, Dom Perignon in hand, to catch one of Long Island’s most beloved bands, Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, a Billy Joel tribute band, at Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef.
It’s sure to be the Hamptons’ biggest event of the summer with more food, drink and fun in one place than you can ever imagine. And Big Shot will get you up and dancing to your favorite Billy Joel songs no matter how much grilled food you’ve eaten!
It was around 1982 that Billy Joel’s music took hold of DelGuidice. “I saw the ‘Live from Long Island’ video that came out in 1982,” he says, not even pausing to remember the year. “That’s when I had just started learning piano and that video really got to me.”
In the 1980s and ’90s, DelGuidice performed in piano bars across Long Island and with his band at the time, Kid Gloves, at, among other places, some East End night clubs readers might recall: Summers and Neptune’s. He did so until 2000.
“Suddenly, we decided to do a Billy band,” he says. “There weren’t many tribute bands around then, but I heard about one band that was doing really well covering one artist.” DelGuidice admits it was a long time ago, but recalls going through song titles with his drummer. “We felt ‘Big Shot’ was the most punchy and short, sweet and to the point.” Thus, a band was born.
DelGuidice, who also writes, records and performs original music, notes that he doesn’t necessarily like the terms “cover band” or “tribute band,” but acknowledges that Big Shot “does fall into that category.”
The band quickly gained a reputation on Long Island and in the New York area. So much so that another big shot—Billy Joel himself—became aware of them. “Billy heard about us in 2002 and invited us down to the Coliseum to do sound check on his equipment.” It was a nice gesture by Joel, but it was more than a decade before the stars would align again.
In 2013, Tommy Byrnes, Joel’s actual guitar player, joined Big Shot. Later, Chuck Burgi, Joel’s drummer since 2005, also joined the band. Eventually, Byrnes told DelGuidice that Joel was going back on the road, this time to Europe. “Three weeks later I heard from them and jumped on the opportunity. Then one thing led to another and it went from me rehearsing with the guys to Billy showing up to, all of a sudden, I’m being asked if I have a passport.”
While on tour, DelGuidice played acoustic guitar and sang backup for Joel. Starting then, DelGuidice became a permanent member of Joel’s band. Apparently dreams do come true.
DelGuidice calls Joel’s music universal adding that it crosses boundaries. “Just because he’s older now, and it’s an older generation of music, that doesn’t mean it won’t be loved by a younger generation. A great song is a great song. And Billy is a master of that.” DelGuidice recommends those less familiar with Joel’s oeuvre get the Piano Man’s Greatest Hits album. “It’s just a matter of time,” he says. “Once you’re around his music enough, you’re going to end up a fan. It’s like ear candy”
In June 2016, Big Shot performed at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, and Joel appeared as a surprise guest. Which is to say, you never know what might happen at Dan’s GrillHampton.
Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef is Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox. GA tickets are $99 for admission 8–10:30 p.m. See East End chefs pitted against NYC chefs in a one-of-a-kind cooking competition and tasting event. VIP tickets are $175 and include early access beginning at 7 p.m.; admission to the Waterfront VIP Lounge with special treats and more! Find tickets and info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events at DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.