PICTOU – Neil Diamond can still sell out concerts and provoke girlish screams from the audience.
Joey Purpura will bring his Neil Diamond tribute back to Pictou on April 25. SUBMITTED
His charisma was – and still is – legendary.
Joey Purpura has lived and breathed Neil Diamond since 2004, travelling across the country and parts of the Caribbean with his tribute show Diamond in the Rough.
"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 singer wasn't on Purpura's radar growing up and so he really started from the ground up.
In 2002, the Toronto-based impersonator began researching the singer's life, studying his every move, song and story behind the music.
He found a Las Vegas-based designer able to replicate Diamond's glittery costumes of the mid-’70s.
"I wanted to research his life because I not only sing his songs, I tell a story and highlight his life just to make it more interesting," said Purpura.
He searched for little known facts about the singer.
For instance, Diamond grew up in the same neighbourhood as Barbra Streisand.
They went to the same school and sang in the same choir.
Purpura also discovered Diamond was a pre-med student and was six months and 10 credits short of a pre-med degree when he abandoned his studies to pursue music.
"He recorded and released a lot of albums and so he has a huge backlog of music," Purpura said about the singer's international appeal.
"And he continues to tour. His music is very diverse and his songs, as one biographer said, cut through your heart and soul, making you feel his pain, anguish and joy."
Purpura’s returning Diamond tribute takes place at the Pictou Legion on April 25.
Tickets are $20 in advance and can be picked up at the legion clubroom. They’re $25 at the door.
Some proceeds will go to the legion.
The News will be giving away a pair of tickets to the show if you’re a Diamond die-hard.
Send in your answers to three trivia questions by April 11 to be entered in the draw.
Answers can be sent to arts & entertainment editor Amanda Jess by …
Mail: 352 East River Road, P.O. Box 159 , New Glasgow, B2H 5E2
1. Neil Diamond is from the New York City area. Which borough did he grow up in?
2. 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
3. Which song describes an imaginary childhood friend?
a. Hey Louis
c. Mr. Bojangles