Legion hosts Neil Diamond tribute performer in an audience interactive concert

A nearly sold out audience attended a performance at the Kamsack Legion billed as a “Neil Diamond party.”

Jason Scott, a Neil Diamond tribute artist, performed on September 19, beginning the concert with a fast-paced song Cherry Cherry, which had audience members tapping their toes to the music.

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With a constantly changing light show trained on the performer who was dressed in glittering stage costume, and delivering spot on vocals, the audience was transported to "Diamond Forever; A Celebration of Neil Diamond,” entertained by the music and showmanship that has made Neil Diamond one of the best-selling singer-songwriters of all time.

The songs are well known and Neil Diamond fans were encouraged to sing along with the tunes and get up and dance.

By the time Scott delivered the third song of the evening, Longfellow Serenade, the audience was taking part in the easy banter by which Scott turns his performances into “audience interactive shows.”

Stopping for a moment to ask an audience member why she was fidgeting so much, he found out she was having difficulty operating her cell phone camera.

Then Scott shared with the audience that his wife’s grandmother had been born in Pelly a hundred years ago. That brought a round of applause.

Going on to say the show would be fast-paced and audience interactive, Scott encouraged everyone to “Make some noise, clap along and sing along.”

Scott kept the audience entertained between songs with interesting facts and stories about Neil Diamond, the inspiration for some of his songs, and how Diamond refers to tribute artists as “his kids” who are keeping his music alive for audiences now that he has retired from touring live.

“But Neil wants us tribute artists to be creative with our performances,” he said. “I put my own twist to the songs that are so well known and loved by Neil Diamond fans.

“So think of tonight as a Neil Diamond party at the Legion! We will celebrate Neil’s greatest hits. Welcome to the party, everyone!”

Breaking into the hit song Hello Again, Scott mingled through the entire hall, shaking hands as he sang the tune.

The next songs, Forever in Blue Jeans and Thank the Lord for the Nighttime had audience members out of their seats, dancing along with the music.

Scott next performed the highly emotional Love on the Rocks, pouring emotion into the soulful number.

Beautiful Noisehad the audience clapping and toe tapping, and followed with Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon, a song to which he gave his own interpretation, with his “Neil Diamond voice inflection,” and it was easy to feel that one was in the presence of the iconic performer himself.

Other songs included Solitary Man, Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show, Shiloh, Desiree and Kentucky Woman, all major hits for Neil Diamond.

When Scott introduced Play Me, he encouraged the audience members to dance along and awarded copies of his music CDs to the couple he chose as the “winners of his dance contest,” naming Krista Ruf and Sterling Erhardt as winners.

Scott had the audience members taking a “trip to Las Vegas and the Stardust Lounge,” where he was one of the final performers onstage at the historic venue which closed in 2006 and was imploded in 2007 after having operated continuously for 48 years. The song he sang was September Love. “Yeah, I miss her,” he said as the haunting song drew to a close.

One of Diamond’s largest hits was a song he wrote which was recorded by the Monkees in 1967, I’m a Believer,” which again had audience members dancing at “the Neil Diamond party!”

Scott took the Kamsack audience on a trip back in time when he recounted the story of how Diamond had written the song Brooklyn Roads about his home and family, but ended up making a video about it when he returned to his childhood home 50 years later.

“He wrote the song in 1967, but didn’t return to his childhood home for 50 years,” Scott told the audience. Think about it. What that must have been like.”

The crowd-pleasing song Sweet Caroline had the audience singing and dancing along once again.

“Thanks for being here tonight, Kamsack, you’ve been a wonderful audience,” Scott said as the concert drew to a close. “Give yourselves a round of applause.

“My show tours all over and I work exclusively with the Royal Canadian Legions across the country,” he said “When you come to events like this the money filters back into the community, and the Legion appreciates the support.”

A 50/50 draw of $105 was held, after which Scott sang an encore song, Holly Holy, keeping the audience mesmerized with his powerful vocals.

Making himself available to chat and greet audience members, pose for photos and autograph CDs, Scott left his audience with memories.

“Very enjoyable concert,” said Warren Andrews. “It was better than I expected. I never knew that Neil Diamond had so many hit songs and I like songs from the 70s era.”

“Fantastic!” commented Audrey Girling.