Big Shot just got shut out.
The Billy Joel tribute band won’t be headlining the kickoff of the Town of Hempstead’s summer drive-in concert series, which is set to take place in the parking lot of Point Lookout Beach’s Town Park Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Instead, the town has secured Queen tribute band Almost Queen to fill in.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is requiring residents from states with high infection rates visiting New York to quarantine for two weeks. Lead singer Michael DelGuidice, who grew up in Miller Place, moved to Florida last year and thus won't be able to make the gig.
“I’m sorry but I just have to do the right thing and go with the Governor’s orders which are for the well-being of everyone involved,” said DelGuidice in a statement. “I pray that everyone will join us for a possible makeup date in August. Please be safe and be good to each other above all. God bless.”
The Town says it understands DelGuidice’s situation and hopes to reschedule with Big Shot.
“Everyone has to accept what’s happening. Is there a little level of disappointment? Yes, but unfortunately this is the time we live in,” said Town Supervisor Donald X. Clavin Jr. “We are in contact with Big Shot and have thrown a few dates back and forth. If we can accommodate them for a future date we will.”
The free show, which is strictly for Town of Hempstead residents, is set to begin with an Independence Day celebration, followed by a 90-minute set from Almost Queen and conclude with a professional fireworks display. Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. The remainder of the concert series has yet to be announced.
“The band is unbelievably pumped to get back out. Everybody is feeling it. Nothing makes musicians more happy than playing on stage in front of a crowd,” says Almost Queen bassist Randy Gregg. “It’s an odd thing playing at a drive-in, but it’s also exciting at the same time. If it’s the new wave, we are excited to be on the frontiers of it.”
Gregg feels Queen’s music is the perfect backdrop for the pandemic.
“There are songs in the catalog that serve as the perfect soundtrack to what’s going on today,” he says. “Tunes like ‘Keep Yourself Alive,’ ‘The Show Must Go On’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’ are anthems built for COVID-19.”
The show is expected to hold 700 to 1,000 socially distanced vehicles and two giant screens will project the activity on stage. Town of Hempstead residents must present ID at the gate as proof of residency and remain in their cars throughout the show. There will be stations with masks and hand sanitizers. Bathrooms will be cleaned every 30 minutes.
“We are going give out a pamphlet with instructions, face masks and hand sanitizer,” says Clavin. “Cars have to be turned off and people can listen with their windows rolled down. The only time you can get out of your car is to go to the bathroom or throw out your garbage and you have to wear a mask. It will be a different kind of concert, but it’s going to be great.”