Billy Joel was one of the best concert experiences a concertgoer could ask for. He has a songbook filled with memorable songs, catchy hooks and, most importantly, his songs make you feel nostalgic and give you no other option than to sing along. So since the artist himself doesn’t go on tour as much anymore where can a person get their fix of classic Billy tunes?
The answer, it seems, comes in the form of Big Shot, a Billy Joel tribute band, who frequent spots in Long Island and the Tri-State area. On Friday September 3, 2010 the band made a stop in B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, located in the heart of Manhattan, on 42nd Street.
The venue itself was a fantastic place to visit. Very cool looking, with sleek, plush booths, and tables that could seat anywhere from 4 to 6 people all placed in front of the stage. The room was dark, with only the light from the stage and the white candles placed on each table acting as the only light for the evening. The menu offered southern specialties offering Mac and cheese, barbeque chicken and ribs among other entrees. The signature drinks, at $13 each, were worth it for their delicious taste.
But the reason why everyone was in the restaurant that night was to pay tribute to a living legend. And the audience and band was ready, starting with their namesake song. The band then did all of Billy’s biggest hits; including, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Only the Good Die Young and Movin’ Out among others.
Each of the band members had personality and was very charming and likeable on stage, cracking jokes with the audience and looking genuinely thrilled to be up there. The band includes Mike Sorrentino, Carmine Giglio (who happened to be celebrating his birthday that night), Nick Dimichino, Ken Cino and (at limited performances, including this one), Richie Cannata, who played saxophone in the Billy Joel band from 1974 to 1985. But what makes the band work most is the lead singer and keyboardist, Mike DelGuidice, who resembles and sounds like Billy Joel so much that Joel himself told The New York Times that the first time he heard the band, “They had a hard time convincing me it wasn’t me. It’s uncanny”. And it is.
The band also took some time out to perform an original song written by DelGuidice, as well as perform tributes to Journey, Elton John and, in a standout performance from every member of the band, especially DelGuidice and drummer Sorrentino, a riveting take on Led Zepplin’s Whole Lotta Love.
The three stand out songs of their close to two hour performance however, were You May Be Right, one of Joel’s most upbeat songs that had everyone singing along, Piano Man, which makes a Joel lover out of any listener and New York State of Mind, which really allowed Cannata to shine.
Who says the next best thing can’t be just as amazing as the original? Big Shot certainly proves that a tribute band can have the same passion, musicality and talent of the original.