Entertainment

'Nearly Neil' performs at Ridge Meadows Home Show

Bobby Bruce – pictured performing in Las Vegas in February – is bringing Nearly Neil, a tribute to Neil Diamond, to the Ridge Meadows Home Show on Saturday. Show time is 1:30 p.m. - Allen Dye
Bobby Bruce – pictured performing in Las Vegas in February – is bringing Nearly Neil, a tribute to Neil Diamond, to the Ridge Meadows Home Show on Saturday. Show time is 1:30 p.m.
— image credit: Allen Dye

By channelling his inner Neil Diamond, Bobby Bruce will be taking visitors to this weekend’s Ridge Meadows Home Show on a road trip back in time.

The Wesbrooke Seniors Living Community is presenting, especially for seniors, Bruce as Nearly Neil.

Bruce is making his debut at the home show, performing his Neil Diamond tribute concert Saturday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m.

The first 250 seniors in attendance will receive complimentary coffee and cookies courtesy of McDonald’s restaurants.

Bruce said the Nearly Neil show has changed  over the years, from a Neil Diamond impersonation to a performance that transports the audience to simpler days.

“It’s changed from an impersonation to a true tribute,” Bruce told The TIMES. “It’s changed from acting out the role, and instead, sharing.”

The 47-year-old Port Moody Senior Secondary grad said as a child, he listened to Diamond’s music.

“It’s my parents’ music that has become so nostalgic to me,” Bruce said. “What this music means to me is going camping at Cultus Lake with the family, and listening to music on the eight track.”

“I look at it as such a simpler time and more easy-going lifestyle,” Bruce added. “Life is so busy today. There’s a lot of warmth around that time for people, and they love to sit and remember.”

Bruce has been a stage performer most of his life, appearing in film and television as a child, in musical theatre and rock revues in his youth.

He found his calling through his musical tribute to the iconic Neil Diamond.

According to his online bio, on his first national tour of Australia, the press dubbed him “Nearly Neil” and the name stuck.

His travels stretch from Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to the Cayman Islands; aboard luxury liners at sea, on national tours stretching tens of thousands of miles, to audiences as large as  30,000.

Nearly Neil tours take Bruce overseas for two to four months a year with repeat tours of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, Belgium and the U.S.

The year 2014 proved to be a big one “Down Under” for Bruce, with four months of countrywide touring across Australia with his newly expanded Beautiful Noise Tour adding a string section to the full rock band.

That tour was so successful that it returned to Australia in September 2015 for another two months.

After a brief respite at home on Gambier Island, Bruce returned to the Southern Hemisphere to headline his own one-night concert backed by a 10-piece band at SKYCITY Auckland at the beginning of December.

Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band rang in 2016 at Casino Regina to a sold out house.

Bruce then made his debut appearance at the 22nd annual Reel Tribute Convention in Las Vegas this past February.

Looking forward to enjoying a summer at his home on Gambier Island, Bruce will continue to perform and tour with Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band throughout the Lower Mainland and across Canada before ringing in 2017 in Ettalong, New South Wales, beginning his 15th tour of Australia.

Closer to home, Saturday’s concert takes the audience on a journey through Neil Diamond songbook, from Cracklin’ Rosie to Sweet Caroline, and everything in between.

There’s more to Bruce than Nearly Neil.

He writes his own music and in 2000 launched another project – the “Shagadelic Swingers,” a musical spectacular celebrating the Austin Powers

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