Neil Diamond is particularly popular in Australia, where Bobby Bruce spends several weeks of the year. Better known as “Nearly Neil Diamond,” Bruce is trading Sydney for Sidney this December 16, when he will appear at the Mary Winspear with his Solitary Band at 7:30 p.m.
Bruce has been doing the Neil Diamond show for 23 years.
“I gave it five years to begin with but it just kept rolling and getting bigger and bigger. It gets hard to stop when something is successful,” said Bruce.
“Nearly Neil” will mix some Christmas tunes into the concert, which will naturally feature some of Neil Diamond’s best-known songs.
“In my house, Christmastime was more about bringing out old favourites than Christmas music, and Neil Diamond was always Christmas music in my family.”
He pointed out that Holly Holy is thought of as a Christmas classic, but it’s actually a love song.
Bruce and his wife Leanne live on Gambier Island, and Bruce said they actually do spend many weekdays at home. Even during his upcoming six-week tour of Sydney, Perth, and Queensland, he said he works three or four days of the week and can have the rest of the time to himself, so “it works out to be quite a luxurious touring schedule.”
Even though he’s singing the same songs, the constantly changing audiences and venues keeps it fresh.
“I do shows as small as 25 people for private parties. I’ve done shows for 30,000 people. It’s constantly changing.”
Bruce has performed in Victoria many times, but this will be his third visit to the Mary Winspear. Bruce credits his wife Leanne, who travels with him, for making it all possible. Leanne organizes travel, manages the band, handles press and social media and once drove the tour bus through Holland.
“We’ve been able to witness this whole experience together, which is really why I’ve been able to do it for so long because it’s so much more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with.”