A Beautiful Noise is a lavish new production celebrating the life and music of Neil Diamond. The show is touring the UK and Eire throughout October and November, and makes a visit to Poole for one night only on Friday 9 November. This joyful celebration will be delivered with an assured virtuosity by the award-winning singer Fisher Stevens, who explains more about the show and his love of Neil Diamond's music here ...
The music of Neil Diamond has been with us for over 50 years now, and with hits such as Sweet Caroline, I Am I Said and Song Sung Blue he has been at the very top for all of that time, selling over 100 million albums. He has also acted and put in a great performance in the remake of The Jazz Singer.And as well as penning many of his own hits, other artists have benefited from Neil’s song-writing talents. He wrote Red Red Wine, a hit for UB40, The Boat That I Row, a hit for Lulu and A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You and I’m A Believer for The Monkees!
Now that Neil has decided to retire from touring, this show gives his fans to enjoy his music in an authentic live setting – with a full band, including brass, strings and backing singers. Superb narrative and visuals combine to tell his story and there’s even a performance of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – originally a hit duet by Neil and Barbra Streisand.
Bringing Neil to life on stage is Fisher Stevens, who is a lifelong fan of the great man.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of Neil’s,” Fisher tells me. “I had all his albums, and Elvis too, to be fair.” (Fisher also performs an Elvis tribute show).
Fisher discovered he could sing by accident whilst on holiday.
“That’s right. I went on holiday to America and went on a karaoke. I was a drummer back then and didn’t sing much, but I won a competition.When I came back home, I bought myself a karaoke machine and started doing the clubs.”
Fisher found out that he was especially good at ‘doing’ Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley.
“I kept on winning competitions, so something was telling me that I could sing,” he says.“Then a judge from one of the competitions I had won rang me to tell me that he had an agency and would I like to sign up – which I did. I carried on doing my day job – a salesman – but gave up about ten years ago to concentrate on singing.”
The show itself is in two parts, as Fisher explains.
“As well as celebrating Neil’s life and music, we are trying to tell the whole story. We are giving people information about him outside of his songs. We will cover his time as a writer in the Brill Building, his first hits and then going to California.”
The first half ends with I Am I Said.
“That’s right. The first half will have a four-piece band and will focus on Neil’s raw talent with songs like Shilo as well. The second half shows Neil ‘now’ as a live concert. We have a bigger band with orchestra, a three-piece brass section, percussion, rhythm section and backing vocalists. It’s a big production.There’s a section about ‘The Jazz Singer’ where we do three or four of the songs from the film.”
The Neil Diamond catalogue is pretty extensive, but Fisher has no hesitation about selecting a favourite.
“Absolutely. I Am I Said is my favourite. I enjoy the story behind it as well as the song itself. It’s about what he was going through at that time.”
Sadly, Fisher has never met his hero, but has seen him in concert.
“Yes, I saw him last year in Birmingham – I made sure I had the best seat in the house.”
Fisher concludes. “It’s my utter privilege to celebrate Neil’s talent and take the audience on a journey. And we collect for Parkinson’s as well at every show.”
Words: Martin Hutchinson