When Diamond Is Forever! hits the AVO Playhouse stage in Vista on Saturday, November 5, two fans in the audience will have traversed over 5800 miles to catch the local Neil Diamond tribute act.
“Jutta Verworrn, accompanied by her 24-year-old stepdaughter Lena, says she’s traveling from Frankfurt, Germany, just to see our show,” says Escondido frontman David Sherry. “She’s an avid Neil Diamond fan and has seen him five times just this past year, in Capetown, Berlin, Mannheim, Hamburg, and London. Overall, she’s seen Diamond more than 15 times.... Now she wants to come to America to see the best [Diamond] tribute she could find on YouTube.”
Founded in 2005, Diamond Is Forever! (whose members live in Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Encinitas, El Cajon, Escondido, and La Jolla) specializes in re-creating the Neil Diamond concert experience circa his live albums Hot August Night and Love at the Greek.
According to Verworrn, “Most tribute bands lack the passion Neil brings to his performances, and that is what his music is all about. [David Sherry] has his own style and charisma, and his voice is fantastic. He is not a copy of Neil Diamond...in pictures and on [online], he looks remarkably sympathetic.”
The German woman met the real Neil Diamond last year in New York City, thanks to a face-to-face introduction arranged by a mutual friend shared between her and Sherry. Randy Cierley-Sterling, who served as Neil Diamond’s bass player from 1969 to 1971, also arranged for Sherry to meet the superstar songsmith backstage in Ontario, California, in January 2009. “When Randy came to pick me up and I found out where we were going, I was blown away. Neil was so warm and gracious and spent a lot of time talking and laughing with us. Here I was meeting the man himself, something I had dreamed of for almost four decades.
“I told Neil that the first time I saw him [perform] was in Detroit, in November 1970. He looked up, locked eyes with me, and asked sincerely, ‘Were we any good?’”