The Real Neil

“I always knew that someday I would shake [Neil] Diamond’s hand and get to tell him how much he inspired me,” says David J. Sherry, the Diamond Is Forever bandleader and Escondido resident who met Neil Diamond in Ontario on January 4.

Sherry debuted his Diamond tribute band in 2005. The backstage meeting between Sherry and Diamond was arranged by mutual friend Randy Cierley-Sterling, Diamond’s bass player from 1969 until 1972.

“Randy was onstage at the very first Neil Diamond concert I attended in 1970, in my hometown Detroit, when I was 13 and had become a fan after hearing ‘Sweet Caroline’ on the radio.”

Backstage in Ontario, when 52-year-old Sherry mentioned the 1970 show, Diamond asked, “Were we any good?”

“I wasn’t just treated like some fanboy behind a velvet rope with hordes of other people hoping for two seconds with Neil,” says Sherry. “Instead, I was introduced to Neil by name, along with a glowing review from Randy about me and the band. He told Neil that I was the real deal, doing a real tribute, and getting the sound and the music right. Neil smiled and, when I stressed that I was not an impersonator and that we loved his music and worked really hard to get it right, he smiled and said, ‘That’s good.’…

“We all parted with a cool old ’60s handshake, thumb-to thumb, and as we were led away to our seats, Neil’s voice echoed down the hallway, ‘Enjoy the show, guys’…we certainly did!”

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Diamond also revealed to Sherry the apparently hitherto unknown origin of the song “Crunchy Granola Suite.” “Turns out Randy [Cierley-Sterling, bassist] inspired it back in the early days, by always carrying a bag of crunchy granola when on tour.”

Diamond is Forever bandmate Ce Ce Taylor emailed to say “After the show, David and Randy were quickly surrounded by concert goers and fans that gathered to say hello, some of whom recognized David from his concerts at the Moonlight Amphitheatre. Randy and David had to be whisked away to the After-Show gathering by a security guard because of the growing crowd.”

Talk about getting a taste of fame!

My mom called me...all excited about this Blurt. She told me about how her and my stepfather saw this guy perform. She hated him, and he liked him. She said that he does the weirdest thing in concert. He'll talk about his life, as if he's Neil Diamond. She asked, "Do all tribute bands do that? It's really corny."

Interesting - and a perfect opening to plug the Reader's upcoming cover feature Taste of Fame, interviewing around two dozen local tribute acts (including more on David "Diamond" Sherry). There are a couple of other Diamond tributes around town that your mom might or might not enjoy - Steel Neil does Diamond songs as heavy metal arrangements.

Have seen David J Sherry several times in concert and he is phenomenal. His singing and acting are truly exceptional and a joy to watch. Having seen Neil Diamond in concert many times from the beginning of his career to present, I can honestly state that David's interpretations of Neil's songs and stage mannerisms are "right on"and a fabulously detailed tribute to a consummate artist.

I haven't been able to see David in person. I do have a video and some of his CD's, and of course, his link to my homepage.

David knows I am such a huge ND fan...and I was so thrilled that HE got to me the man. I have thought many times about driving to where I think Neil's Colorado home is...hahaha...but of course, I wouldn't do that. That was such a cool pic of David and Neil and Randy.
Now Im waiting for David to send me the video he has of that meeting. Good Job, David! Keep on singing!

Oh Mary Pat

I saw David perform his amazing show for the first time in June of 2007 at the Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista California. From the first seconds of the intro you got the feeling that this was going to be big, and it was. The lights, the smoke, the orchestrations of the synthesizer, and then it really exploded into Crunchy Granola Sweet with all the feeling and effect of a really major show. There was David under the spot with that blue sequinned shirt giving the complete appearance vocally, musically and visually of a classic Neil Diamond show. He took great pains to reproduce the sound and feel of what Neil was able to do to and audience and it all came from David's appreciation and adulation of Neil and his music. I'm so glad that this meeting has finally taken place. I know that if Neil ever gets to see David perform he'd feel honored.

That is SO cool that you got to meet the real Neil Diamond!! Tracy and I will live vicariously through you! We're very glad that it happened because we can't think of someone more deserving. You and your band have done such a wonderful job of bringing respect and genuine passion to Neil Diamond's work. We truly love watching your show. Keep us updated on upcoming appearances.....oh yeah, and we went to 2 of Neil's concerts this tour (San Diego and Las Vegas) and both times wore your pink 'Diamond is Forever' shirts to the show!! We were sitting 5th row in SD so I'm sure he could see your shirts. Congratulations on your dream come true and keep up the GREAT entertainment! The Cherry Girls miss you!

I am soooo very happy that David got to meet Neil Diamond! That has to be the very highlight of his life and career, as Neil Diamond has been such a main inspiration in his music career. I've seen David perform with his band at the House of Blues in May of 2008 and at the Vista Moonlight Amphitheater in June of 2008. He and his band put on a wonderful show with great vocals by David and a band that is polished and really does a great job performing Neil's wonderful music. David adds a uniqueness in how he portrays Neil by infusing dialog of things that Neil has actually said in concerts and interviews. As a lifelong fan of Neil Diamond, I remember a lot of these comments and it brought me back to those days in the 60's and 70's. I hope Neil Diamond gets to see David and his band perform someday. I know he will enjoy them VERY MUCH! I miss you too, David --K.C.

That was where my parents saw him...at that ampitheatre in Vista.

I read a great book by the drummer of this 60s band LOVE (most people probably don't know or remember them). After playing with LOVE, he had the chance to become Diamonds drummer.

He went to the audition (early 70s), and was told not to look Diamond in the eyes, or make conversation with him. Diamond yelled at the band and was kind of mean. He then said doing the songs, he thought...the money to do this is probably great. But I just hate these songs. I can't do this.

He got up and left.

And became an electrician or something. He said he'd rather do that, then play boring songs that he didn't care about. That blew me away.

Hi I travelled over 10.000 miles from dublin to san deigo to see David perform. I pridicted that David would be one of the best Neil Diamond tribute artist not only in America but world wide.

I am delighted that david got to meet Neil and I am sure the admiration goes both ways.

Thank you david for your friendship

ambrose ireland

Hello! I am a musician in a very popular Celtic Band here on the west coast. I am really picky about performances when they involve songs that are so personal to my childhood, and I have to say, David Sherry has a wonderful command of the stage and a great voice. I have been to many a Neil Diamond concert as a child and anyone else as a tribute artist, would actually kind of gross me out. David is fantastic. I clearly remember Randy Sterling (Neil's former bass player), and I saying as much in a conversation we had a few years back. GO DAVID!!

Heloise Love of Highland Way

Hi, In September 2007, I traveled from Detroit, MI to see Diamond is Forever at the Moonlight in Vista. I grew up with David in Detroit and I still remember David getting his Sweet Caroline 45rpm record when he was 13. He wanted all his friends to listen to it with him. We used to debate whether Neil would be a Superstar some day. David turned out to be right! As I watched David perform with the Diamond is Forever Band at the Moonlight in 2007, I was mesmerized by the transformation David went through on stage and the quality of his performance. The concert brought happy tears to my eyes and took me to a special place away from the day to day trials. It was well worth my time and expense. I look forward to seeing them again sometime soon.

David is a fantastic performer. The fact that he sounds and looks like Neil D are just pluses, because he could perform any kind of music and enrapture an audience. David's performance is about HEART. I have caught his act several times and was blown away each time - he touches the audience every time, his backup singers and band perform to perfection, and everyone always ends up dancing and hugging. GO David! Keep giving us fantastic music in San Diego!

I have been to many concerts over the years including Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Foghat, Linda Ronstat, Neil Diamond, Carol King, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Harry Chapin. I have never enjoyed a concert more than I enjoyed that Diamond is Forever concert at the Moonlight in Vista in September 2007.

I have seen David Sherry and his Diamond is Forever tribute to Neil Diamond. It was a fabulous homage to a living legend, and David Sherry's portrayal of Neil was phenomenal. I would highly recommend all to catch a show of Diamond is Forever!

I first met David while covering a Social Scene story for the North County Times. He was amazing! Ever since, I have been to every show he's performed in the area. He only gets better and better. He does more than just sing during his concerts. He “becomes” Neil, telling stories about his career and life. I’ve actually learned a lot about Neil through David’s concerts. I'm so happy for him that he finally met the man who changed his life. I just wish that Neil could see David perform. He'd be flattered. For REAL Diamond fans, David is the real thing - NOT bands like Super Diamond, etc. He really SHOULD be booked somewhere all of the time – one of the casinos, HOB, there are plenty of good venues around San Diego. I always thought his act was PERFECT for one of the 4 o’clock Friday concerts at the Del Mar racetrack. If you get the chance, PLEASE check him out. Congratulations David. Love you!

David Sherry is an extremely talented person. Outstanding singer. He has the phrasing, the music, the atmosphere of the real Neil Diamond.

He is continually honing his craft and tightening up his show. Each time he presents, it gets better and better.

I look forward to seeing and hearing him again. Have seen him in three separate shows and would welcome more opportunities.

I'm so happy that you finally got to meet Neil Diamond. I have watched you perform for over 10 years and everytime you have just gotten better and better, the last concert I saw at the Moonlight Amphitheater in September 2007 was superb. It was like Neil Diamond and his whole band were actually there before us. Looking forward to another one of your performances. La Von

I have seen a number of David Sherry's Tribute concerts and he is dead on--fantastic voice and projection, has the moves down, including the upward hand thrust and if one closes the eyes, one is listening to Neil Diamond himself! David is truly talented and sets forth the true, genuine spirit of Neil Diamond in a thoughtful, evocative manner.

Diamond is Forever!

Shirlyn Daddario

The sun was starting to set as my husband and I found our seats at the Moonlight Amphitheater. The lights dimmed and the band struck the first note of music as smoke rose from the stage. David came on stage and sang his first note. It was Neil Diamond on stage. In every way possible David has the voice, the look and mannerism of Neil. His dialogue on stage completes his act with not just the songs of Neil, but his words too. It was a wonderful night of some of my favorite music sung the way Neil sings it. I’m always surprised that David isn’t always booked or playing some place in Vegas, he is that good! He is a true professional working his craft. If you are a true Neil fan, go see David if you get the chance.

I have seen David perform a number of times with his band and I have been blown away every time. He really becomes Neil Diamond, with the mannerisms and the “Behind The Music” way he sets up some of the songs with little anecdotes about the inspiration behind the song. It reminds me of a Broadway play. Then on top of it he rocks the house. I have been a Neil Diamond fan all of my life and this is as good if not better than the real thing. It’s like going to a Neil concert 20 or 30 years ago. The look is spot on and the energy is contagious. Congratulations on meeting Neil in person. Keep up the great work; I can’t wait for the next concert.

From the very first time I met an heard you sing David, in the early 90's I knew you had it in you.I also have been to your shows at the Amphitheater in Vista. You are the most polished performer I have ever seen, including your band and your back up singers. What a production you have. I am so thrilled for you to have finally met you IDOL your " HERO." To just shake his hand and talk with "the Neil Diamond" I know it must have been a dream come through for you. When we go to your concert, it feels like a dream come true for us also, your North Co.friends.You do have the mannerism and voice of Neil Diamond. I would encourage everyone to go see David Sherry perform "A Tribute to Neil Diamond" next time he performs.I am surprise he is not performing at some of our casinos too or on HBO Yes he is that FABULOUS. IT'S AN HONOR TO KNOW YOU DAVID SHERRY.God Bless you.

Having performed with David Sherry, I know first hand that his love of Neil Diamond's music is real and heart-felt. He is committed to keeping the show authentic and gives 110%. If you are a Neil Diamond fan you should see his show.

I have had the pleasure to spend an incredible evening with my family enjoying the sounds of David J. Sherry and his Diamond is Forever tribute band in Montebello which was the last show that I attended. The energy level that the band put out that night was remarkable. I only wish that there were more dates on schedule in the Greater Los Angeles area where I could enjoy the sounds again and bring more friends with me this time.

KEEP IT GOING DAVID!! See you soon!

gregg david weisebrg

I always new you would do something GREAT and meeting Neil Diamond has to be the BEST yet. I saw the show a long time ago and it was GREAT then and I know it must be even better now. Keep up the good work David. Hi Mr Diamond.


God Bless Sadona

I first saw the Diamond Is Forever band with David Sherry in 2006 when my parents invited the family to come and visit (Rancho Carlsbad) and see their community's big annual concert event... I didn't expect much in fact I expected "senior" entertainment like a jazz band or something and so I was more than pleased to discover it was a Neil Diamond tribute band. Not a big fan, I must say, but I did know and like Diamond's radio hits, I grew up with them after all but considered myself more of an 80's rock fan. I was surprised to find more than 700 people there and after a 2 1/2 hour concert by this man and his incredibly ROCKIN' band - I left a confirmed Diamond fan! Even Went out and bought his two Greatest hits CDs the next day! Needless to say when I saw an advertisment in the NCT that his band was playing at the Moonlight (I think it was late summer 2007) I got a group of friends together to picknik and they were as blown away as I was - and I was floored again, by the size of the crowd and the the response he and his band got - everyone cheered and screamed and gave the band a standing ovation at the end - one of my friends has been a Neil fan for years and has seen the real Neil an number of times and said it was like going in a time machine to see Diamond in concert back in the 70's and 80's!! I have been on their mailing list since and not only saw David and the band perform at the House of Blues - and they brought the house down, I felt sorry for the U2 tribute that followed they were lost trying to follow that band! I remember David saying, "Don't let anyone tell you that Neil Diamond and his music doesn't rock"!!! They really did and I think they did like 3 encores that night. Saw the band again at the Moonlight in June or July of 2008 and hope they come back again this year. I have to admit, the Diamond is Foerever band has made me a bona fide Neil Diamond fan! In fact I saw my first Neil Diamond concert in San Diego in November last year and loved it!

This San Diego based (I believe) band does us proud in San Diego, thanks Reader for this article I bet he was excited to meet the man! I was just seeing the pic of the two of them together!

David is a great performer. Having performed with him I know first hand how much he loves what he does. And he is great. This Diamond/Sherry meeting was well overdue. I am so happy for you David!!!!

David and his group are always a tremendous delight to see, hear, experience and keep in my music memory! He is such a motivating, uplifting performer giving his all to the show every time. They are never disappointing and I always look forward to the next one and appreciate his commitment to our local venues. The Real Neil is a legend and David is a great runner up!!

Right on, David! Great Neil took the time, with Randy's help, to sit and chat awhile. Dang, you actually look like his little brother! Keep up the good work!

David's show is amazing. It's a must-see for any Neil Diamond fan. David is almost more "Neil" than Neil himself!!

I have seen David perform several times in the last few years. He is absolutely fantastic - every bit as good as the "real" Neil Diamond. I go to his concerts every chance I get to watch him perform and if you close your eyes, you are back in a 60's concert with Neil. Anyone who hasn't seen David Sherry perform is missing out a lot in the music world!

I have been to two of David's concerts. I was never a Neil fan until David turned me on to him. I have one of Neil's latest CD's and love it. I also have a CD of David's concert at the Moonlight that I play in my car. I am more of a David fan than a Neil fan. David is very talented and also sexy in those black on stage pants and sequin shirts. His voice and band are terrific!! I am happy for you David that you met your hero and keep up the good work!

Really a great show.

Excellent performance

I first went to David's concert about 2 years ago, and I was HOOKED!!! I've since seen every show he's done in the San Diego county area. One time, on a rainy, cold night in Encinitas, only a handful of people had turned out in the large La Paloma Theater to see his show.

Not discouraged by the turnout, David gave a solid 2 hour plus performance, giving 200% of himself to the fans, not at all discouraged by the small audience he was singing to. He demonstrated what a consumate professional he really is.

Over the years I had turned on many friends to his wonderful music, and he has never let me down. His energy and devotion to perfection is beyond description, yet he never takes himself or his work TOO seriously!!!

I agree - David does a FANTASTIC job! He is a true professional - and a nice guy, too!!

Randy Sterling (who isn't just a bass and guitar player, he's also one of my two favorite recording engineers) talked me into coming to a "Diamond Is Forever" rehearsal. He said I had to hear and meet his friend David Sherry, and then he had to push on me-- a singer/songwriter with a bit of an "attitude" toward tribute bands-- to make it happen.

So I dropped in on one-- and even in midst of the stop-and-start, change-this, redo-that of rehearsal, David's talent as a performer and love for the music came shining through. And, his voice just naturally sounds a lot like the real thing. (Tell you what-- if David did a Johnny Cash tribute song, people would still come up to him afterward and say, "You sound a lot like Neil Diamond.") Then they took a break and we could talk a bit, and it was obvious we were already friends but just hadn't met each other until then.

So David, congratulations a bunch on meeting Neil in person. I know how much you were looking forward to it. And here is my sincerely biased plug to all you other folks: When you get a chance to make it to a "Diamond Is Forever" show, GO. I do, and I guarantee you'll enjoy David and the band doing a great performance whether you're a Diamond fan already or not-- and if you weren't, you may be by the time it's over.

PS to Randy: Thanks for being a people connector besides a great player and sound engineer.

David is very talented, he is an exceptional performer, not only does he look like Diamond, he sounds just like Diamond. I was at one of his shows, and someone behind me said "it is Diamond, never heard better, best I have seen" Exactly my sentiments - what a show!!

David Sherry looks, acts, and sings the tribute as if he was Neil Diamond. He brings not only the musical life of a legend singer into his performances; but a history of great music. His shows not only provides a single stars talent; but also the great contibution of his amazing staff. His "no flowers" duet with CeCe Taylor is breathtakingly the best. The performances are simply spectacular. Some songs say it best...."songs sung true." by BillH 1107AM Jan 27, 2009..

This band is the real deal. I have had the pleasure of going to two of their shows. The show at the Moonlight amphitheatre was magic. When performers love what they do it shows and creates an energy that is intoxicating.

David's tribute performances of Neil Diamond are truly amazing! I've been fortunate to be able to attend several of David's shows and they are always spectacular. David is an incredible singer as well as a kind, warm, funny and humble person. I am so happy that you were able to meet Neil Diamond, David! Now we've just got to get Neil to attend one of your performances!

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