Tribute artist takes Neil Diamond’s act and makes it his own
By: SHANNON WINGARD – For The North County Times
ESCONDIDO —- After hearing Neil Diamond’s captivating lyrics and watching his band’s stage presence during a 1970 concert, David Sherry knew at the young age of 13 what he wanted to do: perform on stage.
The Escondido resident has spent decades doing just that, and is now a nationally recognized tribute artist to Neil Diamond.
“When I left the Neil Diamond concert, I knew I had to be in entertainment,” he said.
With his Diamond-style hair and clothes, he will perform the artist’s music at the Diamond Is Forever! concert Saturday in Carlsbad.
“This is a hot August night concert, and it’s a recreation of Neil Diamond’s Greek Theatre performances,” Sherry said.
He said that 1970 concert in his hometown of Detroit sparked an interest in entertainment. After his family moved to the Mediterranean island of Malta, the teenage Sherry began playing in a folk group and portrayed Judas in a European production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 17. After that, his career became a whirlwind of professional musical flurry, including singing on TV and radio. He also has performed on stage at The Manoel Theatre in Valletta, Malta, where he first sang Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and in places like Italy, England and Tunisia.
“The one place I felt alive was on stage, and there was nothing better than that,” he said.
Sherry moved to Escondido in 1998, and soon after got involved in the musical scene. Among other ventures, he was the manager of the 12-piece Big Daddy Orchestra from 2001-03.
He has also used his talent to raise funds for local charities. He produced and performed as Neil Diamond in the concert, A Tribute to the Stars!, which features a variety of tribute artists to raise funds for St. Clare’s Home in Escondido, a nonprofit organization for homeless or abused women with children. He also performed in the Plays in the Park concert to benefit local theaters, and also served three times as the master of ceremonies of Stems & Gem’s event to benefit Altrusa International of Escondido.
Through it all, Sherry said he never lost his passion for Diamond’s music and shares his love for it as a tribute to the artist. “I take Neil Diamond’s own words, and I infuse that dialogue into a concert setting.”
According to Randy Sterling of La Mesa, who played guitar in Diamond’s band from 1969-72, Sherry is a talented tribute artist. He first saw Sherry perform a year ago, and has been a fan ever since.
“A couple of times, he was so right on the money that he took me back to the ’60s and ’70s,” he said. “It was just incredibly exciting the way he presented himself.
“He has all the charisma and performance of Neil Diamond.”
For the man who watched in awe as Sterling played the guitar in that 1970 concert, Sherry said he is thrilled that Sterling is in charge of the sound for the concert.
“He is one of the most inspiring people,” he said. “It wasn’t just Neil that inspired me that night; it was the entire band.”
Looking back, Sherry says, “somehow, I just knew I was going to make it.”
The Diamond Is Forever! event begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Rancho Carlsbad
Estates and Golf Course, 5200 El Camino Real. For tickets, call 839-0866. No
tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets cost $24; $20 for students and