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Review: Big Shot puts The Paramount in a Billy Joel State of Mind (Includes first-hand account)

Musician Drew Bordeaux served as their opening act, who was able to warm up the stage for Big Shot with his acoustic set.

Big Shot is comprised of Mike DelGuidice on lead vocals and piano, Tommy Byrnes on lead guitar, Chuck Burgi on drums, Nick Dimichino on bass, Carmine Giglio on keyboards and John Scarpulla on saxophone. DelGuidice, Byrnes and Burgi are all a part of Billy Joel’s live band, and this week, they all performed at Madison Square Garden, along with Scarpulla who joined in the horn section for several songs, for the historic Billy Joel 100th lifetime show at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

As Big Shot took the Paramount stage, they were greeted with an enormous Long Island welcome. They kicked off their set with the upbeat “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” and they immediately broke into “Pressure.” “Paramount. Good evening. How are you doing?” DelGuidice asked.

After “My Life,” which featured Scarpulla, Giglio and Byrnes on backing vocals, DelGuidice saluted Billy Joel for his music. “To Billy Joel. God bless,” he said, and showed some attitude on “Movin’ Out.”

Big Shot took the audience on a trip down memory lane to the year 1971 to Billy Joel’s debut album, Cold Spring Harbor, with “Everybody Loves You Now.” Equally magnificent was the sax-driven “New York State of Mind,” where white laser lights dimmed from the stage.

DelGuidice tipped his hat to Aerosmith by belting out “Dream On,” which featured his piercing pies. He even included his own original tune, “Mona Lisa,” in his set, which was pure ear candy. “Thank you for listening to my original song,” he said, graciously.

They picked up the pace with “Allentown,” and lead guitarist Tommy Byrnes led the way to the Billy Joel-penned tune “Shameless,” which became a chart-topping country hit for Garth Brooks. DelGuidice complimented Byrnes for being with Billy Joel for 28 years.

Big Shot at The Paramount

Big Shot at The Paramount
Wayne Herrschaft

DelGuidice delivered a stunning solo rendition of “She’s Always a Woman,” as he accompanied himself on piano, and started an audience singalong. “Bravo,” he told the Paramount crowd, for doing a solid job backing him up. Equally noteworthy and controlled was “She’s Got a Way.”

After “Keeping the Faith,” he serenaded “Happy Birthday” to an audience member, and it was followed by yet another Billy Joel powerhouse classic, “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” where DelGuidice commanded the vocals, and Scarpulla nailed the tenor sax and soprano sax solos respectively, thus proving that he is one true saxophone virtuoso.

DelGuidice also covered Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” with grace and conviction. “Hold me closer Tiny Dancer,” he underscored, at the end of the song.

He introduced Chuck Burgi on drums, who has been with Billy Joel since 2005, and Burgi and Byrnes subsequently taught The Paramount a Billy Joel history lesson with “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” which was incorporated with a medley of “Free Bird.”

It was followed by the up-tempo “Only the Good Die Young,” and they introduced Nick Dimichino on bass, who is also known as a band member of the rock band Nine Days, who had the hit single “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” back in 2000. DelGuidice sang the chorus of the song in his honor, and they closed with Billy Joel’s signature song, “Piano Man,” which was expressive, powerful and brilliant. Scarpulla lifted up the microphone stand to the audience so that they could sing the chorus with them.

For their encore, Big Shot performed Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” as he went into the crowd, and stayed in the audience for “You May Be Right.”

“The show was fun, loud and energetic,” said Emma, age 12, who saw Big Shot for the very first time tonight. “It was a great experience and I loved it,” she added.

The Verdict

Overall, tonight’s Big Shot show at The Paramount is best summed up via the following Tommy Byrnes quote that he mentioned onstage: “I don’t know anybody who sings like Mike DelGuidice does,” and Byrnes is absolutely correct. The entire tribute band delivered two hours of nonstop high-quality music as they paid homage to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel and other musical greats. Big Shot is always worth seeing in concert when they come to town. Their live set at The Paramount garnered an A+ rating.

To learn more about Big Shot and their touring dates, check out their official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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