Neil Diamond's 72nd birthday brings popular tribute performance to Alberta Rose Theatre
January 25th, 2013 Neil Diamond fans will celebrate his 72nd birthday (one day late!) and one of the premiere Neil Diamond Tribute acts is performing a special birthday concert event.
Tony Starlight has performed a monthly Neil Diamond Tribute at his nightclub in NE Portland for over five years. These shows routinely sell out, so in order to meet the increasing demand they performed the show in three larger venues this summer and fall at Alberta Rose Theatre, Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield, WA and The Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro. This series was such a rousing success that it has lead to more theater booking for Tony's tribute. The August performance at Alberta Rose Theatre was captured on video (see above).
Upcoming Neil Diamond Tribute performances
Friday Dec 28th - The Holiday Version at Tony Starlight's Supperclub & Lounge
Friday Jan 25th - Special 72nd Birthday Party & Show at Alberta Rose Theatre
"Neil Diamond's music unites people from multiple generations. It speaks to people's soul. Of all the music that I sing, across multiple genres, nothing gets an audience going like a Neil Diamond song." - Tony Starlight
The Tony Starlight Neil Diamond Tribute differs from similar tributes in three key ways.
1) Musically it is a faithful rendition of Neil in his heyday with no prerecorded tracks. Tony's Neil voice is spot on, in both tone and inflection.
The musical director and keyboardist for this group is Bo Ayars, who spent 12 years as musical director for Liberace. He has also led bands for Elvis Pressley and Barbra Streisand, so you can see this show has a fine musical pedigree. The band consists of:
Bo Ayars - keyboard and director
A Diamond sparkling in the Starlight: Tony Starlight does Neil Diamond
Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian - October 27, 2012
Wearing a shaggy black wig, sporting a sparkly shirt, tight pants and a bejeweled belt buckle reading "SEXY," Tony Starlight saunters onstage, into the spotlight, while the band plays.
It's the first of many jokes about appearance versus reality coming up this evening. Starlight is at his Northeast Portland home base, Tony Starlight's Supper Club & Lounge, where he typically does songs and patter inspired by stars of earlier eras, notably Frank Sinatra and other Rat Pack-vintage icons.
But tonight, Starlight is taking on another identity, that of Neil Diamond -- specifically, 1970s Diamond, with his fluffy hair, unbuttoned shirts and arena-filling showmanship. While Starlight and the band sell Diamond's songs with sincere, professional flair, there's humor layered into the concept. The narrow club may be crowded and cozy, but it's hardly an arena. And obviously, Starlight isn't Diamond. For that matter, he's not even Starlight. The 42-year-old entertainer's real name is Brett Kucera, and Starlight is his wisecracking, showbizzy alter ego.
Recent emails from fans:
A day hasn't gone by that I haven't thought about your last Neil Diamond show. I've been to a lot of them and I think that it was the best one yet! It is fun for me to observe guests who haven't seen your show before (or you for that matter), and then watch them "get with it".
Besides being a fantastic musical Neil Diamond, you have that rare knack of pulling people together. At the beginning, we are mostly strangers, there to be entertained. As the show unfolds, these individuals let their guards down, relax, and meld into one big happy family. One can sense it in the room, the air is static with enthusiasm and joy ... "it's so good!"
- Ruthie Westlund
Hi Tony! My name is Anna Marie Brown, and I'm writing to tell you that I went you your show last night -- Neil Diamond's birthday celebration -- And I had such a *****' blast, I couldn't even believe it! I've been to see the actual Neil Diamond at the Rose Quarter, and Super Diamond at the Crystal Ballroom, but I gotta say, your Neil Diamond experience was extraordinary. There was so much love and goofiness and quality -- it was more real Neil than even the real Neil. The band was incredibly talented, and I thrilled to every "dee dee de doe..." -- Hot August Nights to a tee.
I also really enjoyed to audience, which seemed a mix of two distinct generations -- the 55-65+ers, and the 30-40+ers. The parents who were around in his hey-day, and their kids who listened to their parents records. That's me -- the kid -- and I can sing every line!
Thanks so much for such a heartfelt performance. It felt so good to leave hipster culture behind, and bask in the joyful, cheezy splendor of one of my favorite old time rockers!
-Anna Marie Brown