San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
Sound description: Metallica, playing the songs of Neil Diamond.
RIYL: Neil Diamond songs played by Metallica
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Inception: San Diego, 2001
Current Status: Gary Day's Neil Diamond tribute has been retired.
Influences: Neil Diamond, Metallica
Neil Diamond tribute band Brother Love takes its name from the 1968 Diamond hit “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”
Bandleader Gary Day says the act was formed for an American Idol forerunner Your Big Break. "In 2001 a camera crew from Dick Clark Productions came down to San Diego looking for singers who could sound like famous artists, and they auditioned 400 people at the Windsock. I was sick with a fever, but a friend forced me to go. I learned about the audition at the last minute, arrived late, and my friend had to haggle with them to let me try out with 'Love on the Rocks. '"
Two weeks later, producers requested a video of Day singing Diamond songs in a karaoke bar, with no guarantee that it would air. "I did make the TV show, which aired nationally in prime time," says Day.
Day explains that it takes around 20 hours to reduce a Diamond arrangement from a 22-piece band with strings to a standard rock configuration. "I keep the Diamond character pretty close visually and actually become him vocally in both my acts. Brother Love is all heavy-metal arrangements, but I also do a second set as Steel Neil, performed to original arrangement tracks." He hasn't met the real Neil yet but says, "He [Diamond] knows who I am. Sony gave us permission to do the first CD...Neil's lawyers could have shut us down for an array of reasons by now if he didn't like us." Segments of the Brother Love show are posted on YouTube.