The Jefferson Highlights Concert Series celebrated its 50th show this past Saturday night with Simply Diamond, a tribute band dedicated to covering the songs of Neil Diamond. The band is headed by Brian La Blanc and is recognized by famous musicians such as Paul Shaffer, the bandleader of “The Late Show With David Letterman.”
The concert was the second in the 2014 Jefferson Highlights Summer Concert Series that takes place at the Art Bonito Amphitheatre at Camp Jefferson, founded by Art Bonito.
Simply Diamond is not your ordinary tribute band. The band pays tribute to classic Neil Diamond songs such as “Sweet Caroline,” “I’m a Believer,” and “America”. La Blanc also wore the iconic sequin shirt on stage to add to the tribute.
However, the band also put their own mark on some of Diamond’s classic hits. One song that got the crowd moving and clapping was “Holly Holy,” of which La Blanc and the band put a rock and roll spin.
The crowd appeared to be enjoying the show throughout the night. It was an evening of nostalgia for those who grew up listening to Neil Diamond. They responded to each of the songs accordingly, moving and dancing to the songs and laughed loudly at the jokes and stories La Blanc told between songs. The mood during the night was highly energetic and positive, with audiences cheering and yelling for La Blanc to come back on stage for an encore performance of “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the night.
When asked at the end of the night how he thought the show went, La Blanc, who comes across relaxed and easy going, said,
“I thought it was a home run tonight. The energy with the audience was just great. They were beautiful people in an absolutely beautiful place. The service that we had here was above and beyond. A++.”
The audience themselves enjoyed the show as well, with many commenting on how similar La Blanc’s Diamond was to the actual Neil Diamond.
“This was very, very good. One of the best they have had since they did the Queen tribute here a few years ago. He even sounded just like Diamond,” said Silvia Santiago, of Newark.
Ray Schank, of Sussex, a returning Jefferson Highlights Concert attendee, said he enjoyed the performance.
“This was a great show. We’ve been coming here for four years and this was right up there with the best.”
Others enjoyed the lighting that was set up by Bonito and the crew of Jefferson Highlights. Young Rachel Genung, of Hamburg, stated, “It was bright and colorful.”
“This was my first time here and I enjoyed it a lot,” said Maria Tedjeda of Newark.
The next concert in the Jefferson Highlights Concert Series is “ABBA Girlz,” a tribute to ABBA. The show will take place on August 2 at 8 p.m. For more information, including ticket prices, visit http://www.jeffersonhighlightsconcerts.com