Billy Joel Makes Surprise Appearance at Big Shot Performance on Long Island
My evening going to finally see the BIlly Joel tribute band, Big Shot, turned into an experience I will never forget. Friday night he crashed our party!
BIlly Joel's music is art to me. Any one of his songs, whether it was a hit or a deep cut, is so intricately woven, every album is so uniquely different, that he has left his fans wanting more ever since his last album when he sailed down that "River of Dreams" in 1993. Even Garth Brooks is a fan. At a press conference at Yankee Stadium last month where he announced his July concert, Garth Brooks and I spoke about our mutual love of the Long Island rocker. This is the guy who made "Shameless" a number one country song and he told me "To this day, Billy Joel's version of "Shameless" is my favorite." What the cameras don't show in my interview with Garth Brooks is that well over an hour after the conference, just before we spoke, he actually remembered me and said, "Billy Joel fan, come here!" And Garth Brooks wrapped his arms around me. Why? Because I'm a Billy fan too, just like him. You can see that interview below.
My friend Jim is like a brother to me and my equal when it comes to being crazy about a certain Long Island Superstar. We have gone to see Billy Joel together at Madison Square Garden. The hubby, Jim and his girlfriend Heather and I have sang Billy Joel karaoke at both of our houses way past midnight, we have all been to his concerts countless times but we have never seen "Big Shot" the BIlly Joel cover band that has become quite big in their own right. Weeks ago, Jim bought 4 tickets for Big Shot at The Paramount Theatre in Huntington, NY. and last night we endured Friday night traffic to get onto Billy Joel's beloved Long Island.
Anyone who has ever driven to Long Island is used to that traffic so I knew we were in for a battle. But since Jim is a Veterinarian, his steady surgeon's hands held onto that steering wheel and guided us flawlessly to the venue. I wan't paying much attention, I was texting a friend, checking Facebook and feeding my virtual cats in the cat game that I have on my phone. I looked up at one point and said, "Hey, this is New York Avenue," no street sign needed, I'm a New Yorker who loves Long Island and grew up not far away, "this is where Billy Joel had his motorcycle accident like 30 years ago when he hurt his thumb."
Go ahead..... look it up.
We're talking BIlly Joel here.
To be exact, it was 1982. "........like 30 years ago."
I got this.
Once inside the theatre, I was delighted to see that this was not a large place. The usher guided us to these wonderful seats in the balcony right above the piano onstage. When Mike DelGuidice and the rest of Big Shot came out, we could see the expressions on their faces, that's how close we were. Of course, there was a guy seated directly in front of me who would move his head in such a way that I had to keep moving mine so I could see, but like traffic to Long Island, that's another thing that I am used to.
Three songs in, Mike DelGuidice says, "Here's a song that a gentleman by the name of Garth Brooks made a number one hit," and the band went into "Shameless." Could this get better? Oh, yes! We were about to find out!
Heather, tapped me and said, "I heard an usher talking to someone and he said 'it's very possible that he will be here', the way he said it, I think he was talking about Billy Joel!" I let that sink in for a moment and then thought, "Nah.....that doesn't happen to me and besides we are sitting way too close, it would be way too awesome for that to happen."
Well, guess what?! Two more songs and then we hear that familiar "OMG BILLY JOEL IS HERE!" type of screaming from the front of the crowd. Billy Joel walks out on to the stage with a familiar "Hello Huntington" greeting. He sat down at the piano and sang "With A Little Help From My Friends" in true Joe Cocker style. I've seen Billy do this song several times and if you close your eyes, you would swear it's Joe Cocker himself, but really? Did you think I was closing my eyes right now? Hell, no! I moved right to the edge of the balcony, I sat on the steps, Heather came over and put her arms around me and we sat there singing along as tears rolled down my cheeks. I know, dramatic right? Well, not really if you're a Billy Joel fan like me.
The band segued into the familiar chords of The Rolling Stone's "Honky Tonk Woman" and if the crowd wasn't lit up by then they certainly were now! But who am I kidding? We were all there to see a Billy Joel tribute band and as popular as Big Shot is, this was the Big Shot himself! Everyone was more than lit up and I was peering over the crowd above BIlly Joel's head thanking Apple for the wonderful camera that they put into my phone.
The third song, how perfect, "You May Be Right" because this particular Friday night he had indeed crashed our party but I'm sure that on Saturday no one was looking for an "I'm sorry" from BIlly Joel.
He thanked the crowd, hugged Mike DelGuidice and with a wave he walked off the stage and I was there in the balcony thinking, "Did that really just happen?" But again, thanks to Apple, I can show you.
Here's the interview with the other Billy Joel fan, the amazing Garth Brooks: