A multimedia live music tribute to the anointed one
We guarantee this is the finest Neil Diamond Tribute in the country, and certainly the funniest. Musically, the tribute is faithful to the source material. Vocally, it’s eerie how much Tony sounds like Neil in his prime. The best part, though, is the humor that this tribute has. While some tributes may take themselves a bit too seriously (Bob Jacobs IS DIAMOND!!!) Tony Starlight’s Neil Diamond Experience takes the best parts of Neil Diamond’s compelling music and the culture that surrounds it and sets it slightly askew. Simulated figure skating, self-loving monologues, glittery man-blouses all make for a fun evening for fans and those who won’t admit they are fans. In fact, people who hate Neil Diamond have been known to accidentally enjoy this show!
“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.
2) The show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tony is a musical comedian, so the show is a fun mix of music and comedy. And sing-a-long!
3) It is in a seated concert setting, NOT a “stand-like-sardines-for-two-hours-in-a-venue-that-thinks-all-you-want-to-hear-is-drums-and-bass.”
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
Matt Tabor – piano
Dennis Caiazza – bass
Sam Foulger – drums
Barbara Ayars – backup vocals
Nick O’Donnell – electric guitar
Tony Starlight – lead vocals and acoustic guitar
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.
“Hello, Portland!” he hollers. The crowd of about 90 people applauds, and Starlight pauses as he looks around dubiously. “Are you sure this is the Rose Garden?”
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.