The Town of Oyster Bay held it's latest and greatest Music Under the Stars event Wednesday evening when wildly popular Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot took the stage at TOBAY Beach.
Big Shot drew tens of thousands of residents that evening, all wanting to experience the songs originally sung by the man whom many consider to be the "Voice of Long Island."
Headed up by pianist and singer Michael DelGuidice, Big Shot is known for accurately capturing the sound and style of Billy Joel's music to an almost uncanny degree. Big Shot has accumulated a vast fan base over the years, due in equal parts to Joel's popularity and their own undeniable talent.
Town of Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto introduced Big Shot to the tremendous audience, who were clearly all die-hard Joel fans.
"Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to rock this beach with the sounds of Billy Joel?" he asked. "You're going to have a great time tonight."
Big Shot came out firing on all cylinders that evening, immediately firing off note-perfect renditions of many of Joel's greatest hits, such as "New York State of Mind," "It's Just a Fantasy," and of course, the band's namesake, "Big Shot."
Michael DelGuidice welcomed the members of the audience, and even seemed taken aback by how many of them there were.
"My, there are a lot of people here tonight!" he said. "This is awesome!"
A special treat for the crowd was the presence of one of Billy Joel's original band-mates- saxophonist Richie Cannata, who worked with Joel from 1972 to 1982, and again for his 2006 tour. Cannata electrified the crowd with his masterful sax solos and backing vocals, and gave Big Shot a big shout out for their work on keeping his and Joel's music alive.
"These guys are amazing," he said. "It's great to hear you playing the music as Billy and I always wanted it to be played."
In addition to playing many of Joel's songs, including some of his more obscure pieces, Big Shot also dabbled with a few original tracks off of singer Michael DelGuidice's solo album at the behest of Cannata.
"I hope we get to do a few songs off of your album tonight," he said to DelGuidice. "Michael has a new CD out, which he selling tonight, and it's all about original music. It'll be for sale after the show, and we want to shake hands with everybody, some come on by."
Melissa Trenta of Wantagh has been a life-long Billy Joel fan, and sees Big Shot in concert every chance she gets.
"Michael DelGuidice sounds so much like Billy that it's crazy," she said. "A lot of times at a Big Shot concert, I just close my eyes and pretend it's really Billy singing."
Partick Benoit of Bethpage has been looking forward to this concert ever since it was announced.
"I'm a huge, huge Billy Joel fan, and Big Shot rocks! They're awesome, man," he said. "I can't believe how many people are here tonight...it's gonna take forever to get out of this parking lot later, but it's worth it."
Upcoming acts slated to appear in the Music Under the Stars series are Tony Orlando on July 23 and Air Supply on July 30, both at John J. Burns Park in Massapequa.