Michael DelGuidice and Big Shot are coming back. Long Island’s own Billy Joel tribute band will perform a drive-in concert in the parking lot of Point Lookout Beach’s Town Park on Saturday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. The free show, which is for Town of Hempstead residents on a first-come, first-served basis, will be preceded by an Independence Day celebration and followed by a professional fireworks display.
“I think it will be an explosive soulful event because people can experience something of normality during this pandemic,” says DelGuidice, who grew up in Miller Place. “This will be our first live show out of quarantine. We are going to have a hard time squeezing in the amount of songs I want to play.”
The band promises to deliver a healthy dose of Billy Joel anthems (“Miami 2017,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “Piano Man,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “You May Be Right”), plus epic rock songs (Elton John, Journey, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin) and even a few originals like his new single, “Where Do the Heroes Go?”
“The set will be more diversified than usual,” says DelGuidice. “We will have a horn section, which opens up the door for tunes like Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” Toto’s ‘Rosanna,’ some Chicago tunes, plus Billy Joel songs like ‘Tell Her About It,’ ‘Half a Mile Away’ or ‘Easy Money.’ ”
Underneath all the excitement is a severe safety concern for DelGuidice, who is taking the rules of the show very seriously and hopes the crowd does the same.
“I want everyone in their excitement to do the right thing. It’s important that we maintain order,” he says. “If I start to see people get out of their cars, I’m literally walking off the stage. Let it be known, it’s up to the people coming. This is purely on them because the band and the Town of Hempstead will be following the law.”
However, Supervisor Donald X. Clavin Jr. ensures that a safety structure is in place with the assistance of New York State Police, Town of Hempstead Public Safety, Bay Constables and Nassau County Police. The event, which will be projected on two screens, can hold approximately 1,000 cars with social distancing.
“People have to stay in their cars. This is a different time with everything going on. We expect the residents to be working with us,” says Clavin. “Staffers will indicate where they will be parking with proper spacing. There will be a coronavirus concierge service, which will be mindfully walking the parking field reminding residents to socially distance or direct them to hand sanitizer or masks.”
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Being the first major live concert on Long Island since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, DelGuidice feels strongly about its proper execution.
“It’s a burden on my heart to make sure this goes well,” he says. “This is also for the preservation of live music being able to be performed on Long Island. We can’t go backwards.”
This will be the first of 28 Town of Hempstead concerts to take place this summer. The remainder of the roster, which has yet to be released, will start the second week of July.
“They will be a mix of drive-in shows and, as phases expand if the governor allows it, concerts in the parks with social-distancing circles,” says Clavin. “We are trying to give the residents the ability to enjoy as many activities as we can in a safe manner.”