His voice may not be what it used to be, but Neil Diamond can still sell out concerts and incite high-pitched squeals.
His charisma was, and still is, legendary, and a Toronto performer has mastered a tribute show.
Joey Purpura has lived and breathed Neil Diamond since 2004 and he is bringing his tribute show Diamond in the Rough to the Parksville Legion July 19 at 8 p.m.
“I’ve always been able to do voices, as long as I could remember,” said the 39-year-old. “When I found out I could do a pretty good Neil Diamond, my friends encouraged me to go on stage.”
The tribute show wasn’t on Purpura’s radar growing up and to give the show its due diligence he felt he had a lot of work to do.
In 2002, Purpura began researching the singer’s life, studying his every move, songs and stories behind the music. He also searched for little known facts about the singer, such as Diamond and Barbara Streisand grew up in the same neighbourhood, went to school together and sang in the same choir. Purpura then found a Las Vegas-based designer capable of replicating Diamond’s glittery costumes of the mid 1970s. He has now traveled across the country and to parts of the Caribbean performing his show, including several stops on Vancouver Island. Last year he took his show to Victoria, Chemainus and Courtenay.
Currently on a mini-tour, Purpura’s only stop on Vancouver Island this time around is in Parksville, before heading off to the Okanagan.
Tickets for the show in Parksville are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Legion. Tickets can be picked up at the Parksville Legion, 146 West Hirst Ave. or by calling 250-248-6842.
—NEWS Staff/Submitted by Jeoy Purpura
Contest: Win two tickets to the show. Email the correct answer to the question below to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 10. Put “Send me to see Neil Diamond” in the subject line and include your name and phone number in the email. Draw will be done Friday, July 11.
Q. Elvis Presley incorporated a live version of which of these Neil Diamond songs into his Las Vegas show?
a. Kentucky Woman
b. Cracklin’ Rosie
c. Sweet Caroline
d. Play Me