Monday, May 19, 2008

Fringe 08: Diamond

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2008 at 4:25 PM

Diamond: A Neil Diamond Tribute

Croon-A-Tune Productions (Mount Dora FL)

Even if youâ??re too young, or consider yourself too cool, to be a Neil Diamond devotee, itâ??s hard to deny heâ??s earned his place in music history â?? and Jack Berriosâ?? unironic tribute to the man is a fitting celebration of his sonic legacy. More than just a karaoke concert, Berrios brings with him a couple of musicians (Karl Pannellas, Ryan Leyhue) and a pair of easy-on-the-eyes backup singers (Kitei, Janet Lamb) to bolster his backing tapes.

Berrios doesnâ??t quite resemble the man facially, but his vocal imitation is eerily uncanny, and in a packed 60 minutes he does justice to nearly all of Diamondâ??s biggest hits. More importantly, Diamondâ??s sparkling shirts have always belied a modest accessibility that is the key to his legendary audience rapport; Berrios captures this quality perfectly, whether tossing trinkets into the crowd or recovering from a coiffure near-catastrophe courtesy of an over-amorous fan.

Even if you think you donâ??t know Diamondâ??s music, you do â?? from rock classics like â??Iâ??m A Believerâ?� and â??Forever In Bluejeansâ?� to grade-A schmatz like â??Heartlightâ?� and â??You Donâ??t Bring Me Flowersâ?�, these songs form the subliminal soundtrack of the late 20th century. By the final chorus of â??Sweet Carolineâ?�, Berrios had me and the rest of audience shouting â??So good! So good! So good!â?� My only complaint is that the overloaded amps overwhelm the small venue, resulting in uncomfortable feedback that detracts from the performance.

I saw the real Neil on his last tour through town, and I enjoyed Beriossâ?? ersatz Diamond almost as much. Come to think of it, when you factor in his omission of any snooze-inducing â??Jonathan Livingston Seagullâ?� medleys, Berrios might just come out on top.

Green Venue

60 minutes

$9 (Discounts: none)

Remaining Performances:

5/21 WED 7:40PM

5/22 THU 11:59PM

5/24 SAT 8:45PM

5/25 SUN 4:20PM



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