Here’s where it becomes terribly obvious (as if it wasn’t before) that Hannah is the cool music person of this friendship, and I’m the odd one. The quirky one who actually revels and shares with everyone that she went to something like a Neil Diamond tribute band concert.
One of my memories of Neil Diamond’s hey-day in the Seventies was of a bootleg tape, passed on to my father from one of his Navy buddies, that he would play on the monster reel-to-reel deck that commanded the living room. He’d sit me down, 10-years-old or so, crank up the sound and say “Listen to this, Lori, listen! Hear the way the music just builds?!?” when Sweet Caroline rolled around. He just loved the guy! And of course, being 11, and not yet in the phase of Rejecting All Things Parental, I would become Neil, singing “Holllllly, HOOOOOOHHHHHHHHLY, looove!” Belted out from deep down in my round little gut. All I needed was a shiny Western shirt-jacket and bad hair.
So, when I saw The Diamond Experience (which I’ve felt compelled to say in a deep, sultry voice every time, like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction before she dances with John Travolta: “Vincent Vega.”) slated on my local Shoreline summer concert series, I penciled it in and dragged my always-willing-to-be-dragged husband along Wednesday night to awash ourselves in The Experience. Of the Diamond. (More sultry Uma-ness.) Following are some glimpses of the show via the Loriheadcam (in reality gleaned from some cryptic notes I took that night on what I thought was the back of a grocery list, but turned out to be a prescription from my doctor…):
- Is that him? Is that the guy who’s going to be Neil? White, nearly see-through pants, loose, shiny royal-blue shirt, requisite bad Seventies hair, everybody else is on stage: yes. But he looks like a Native American…(I’ve looked into this and can neither confirm nor deny, as he was adopted, but he, Billy Farmer, has the look and the Rez-accent, I believe Sherman Alexie calls it, which made it all the more fascinating to watch him do Neil Diamond.)
- I get beyond the looks because the guy sounds just like Neil Diamond when he sings. He does a great job, really. Kentucky Woman, Solitary Man, Cherry Baby, Stagger Lee. He’s got ‘em down!
- I do crack up whenever he pulls some schwingin’ moves with the guitar. He’s a bit on the chubby side of the body-spectrum, and somehow it just kills me when he steps back from the microphone, slides the guitar across his slick shirt and up into the air, all the while playing. (Much youtube-type research revealed this must be an interpretation by Billy, as Neil, while he could indeed bust out some schmooves, doesn’t do this particular slidey one.)
- The setting is odd because it’s at a park with lots of families on blankets munching down dinner; very relaxed and chatty. The dancers in front of the stage seem to be missing a lot of teeth. This, due to youth, not the economic demographic.
- Joe seems to know all the words. And sings them along with Billy/Neil. Even when I throw those ball-shaped white clover flowers at him non-stop.
- I refuse to wave my arms slowly back and forth above my head during Song Sung Blue. In my opinion slow songs are for bathroom breaks.
- Maybe Neil Diamond is part Native American? From the Diamond tribe along with Lou Diamond Phillips.
- I think this would be a lot more fun with alcohol. Multiple times. Only because I could see that in a nightclub setting people would be totally eating this up. Although even with no alcohol I notice if there’s music, moms will dance.
- Joe says he hopes they’ll play Porcupine Pie.
- Billy tells us he, the keyboard player and drummer all went to high school together in the late 70s in Tacoma. Anyone else out there graduate in 79, 80 or so? All I see as I’m laying back in the grass are my arm and Joe’s intertwined and timidly floating up towards the sky.
- The kids dancing up in front are so fun to watch. All the boys are dancing very physically, karate-chopping, Townsend-windmilling, somersaulting. The girls want to hold hands, spin and for the slower songs twirl dreamily around like ballerinas. I like one who does awesome heavy-metal hair solos and all smiles lifts her shirt up for her mom – future Hooter’s server or sorority girl. Or maybe me.
- Billy/Neil wraps it up without playing Porcupine Pie, but it was a good time anyway. To ease Joe’s disappointment, I yell out a final request, trying to get one more song out of them. “Pork Pie!!!” Like I need alcohol….