“I always knew that someday I would shake [Neil] Diamond’s hand and get to tell him how much he inspired me,” says David J. Sherry, the Diamond Is Forever bandleader and Escondido resident who met Neil Diamond in Ontario on January 4.
Sherry debuted his Diamond tribute band in 2005. The backstage meeting between Sherry and Diamond was arranged by mutual friend Randy Cierley-Sterling, Diamond’s bass player from 1969 until 1972.
“Randy was onstage at the very first Neil Diamond concert I attended in 1970, in my hometown Detroit, when I was 13 and had become a fan after hearing ‘Sweet Caroline’ on the radio.”
Backstage in Ontario, when 52-year-old Sherry mentioned the 1970 show, Diamond asked, “Were we any good?”
“I wasn’t just treated like some fanboy behind a velvet rope with hordes of other people hoping for two seconds with Neil,” says Sherry. “Instead, I was introduced to Neil by name, along with a glowing review from Randy about me and the band. He told Neil that I was the real deal, doing a real tribute, and getting the sound and the music right. Neil smiled and, when I stressed that I was not an impersonator and that we loved his music and worked really hard to get it right, he smiled and said, ‘That’s good.’…
“We all parted with a cool old ’60s handshake, thumb-to thumb, and as we were led away to our seats, Neil’s voice echoed down the hallway, ‘Enjoy the show, guys’…we certainly did!”