Michael Douglas - Neil Diamond Tribute Act | Plymouth, South West
Based In: Plymouth, South West
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“Where it began……
The Michael “Brooklyn Boy” Douglas story began way back (nearly five decades ago) before it was even given the official title of Brooklyn Boy (covered in more detail within the website’s Biography section). Michael carries with him a wealth of knowledge and experience within the entertainment industry and has honed his craft and skills to such a high level of professionalism that he is now arguably one of the best tribute artiste’s in the world today, his friendly and transparent personality leaves people in no doubt about just wh ... o he is, where he is coming from, and where he is going.
“I can’t begin to knowing………
A little over sixteen years ago a random comment made by an audience member “You sound a lot like Neil Diamond in that song” struck a chord with Michael and caused him to wonder whether or not he could develop this new found skill of singing mimicry, not being one to turn down a challenge Michael took a two year sabbatical from his other work as a singer songwriter to concentrate on perfecting the vocal nuances and performance mannerisms of Neil Diamond.
And so finally after two years, Michael felt he was ready to unleash the results of his hard work on a very unsuspecting public and subsequently spoke candidly about his new venture by saying “I didn’t know whether the new offering “The Neil Diamond Tribute Show” was going to be good enough, but thought I’d let my audience be my judges and jury, and I waited very nervously for the feedback from the first show, happily I didn’t have to wait long before receiving it, all of the feedback was positive…I was relieved I can tell you, but more than that, I felt that I was at least on the right lines and would continue to strive to make it even better”
“But then I know it’s growing strong…….
For nearly fifteen years The Neil Diamond Tribute Show gathered momentum and was well supported around the world, so much so that Michael decided nearly two years ago to raise the bar even higher by introducing a new element to the already successful solo show…..the band! (Not so coincidentally) consisting of the same number and type of musicians that Neil has in his band when he is on tour, and so Brooklyn Boy was born.
Michael reflects “I guess it was always part of the master plan that if the show did well and continued to do so, then it would eventually become a natural progression to put a far bigger show together by having a dedicated band to put on a show that was essentially the same as I had been performing solo for so many years, but bigger” but then Michael’s creative juices began to flow and in the process, began to turn what was originally going to be an up market Neil Diamond tribute show, into something else.
Michael explains “I began to feel that if I was going to put a band of that size and calibre together, then it really ought to be the best in its field, and so I asked myself what I would need to do to achieve that, it needed to be different in some way, to set it apart from all other bands…I struggled for a short while to find an answer, and then out of the blue I remembered reading somewhere that “The Buddy Holly Story” was still enjoying its run after more than thirty five years and much of that time has been spent in London’s West End, the answer was staring me in the face, I’ve already been doing a tribute to Neil’s songs, what if I could do a tribute to both his songs and his life, I let my imagination run wild and as a result the original concept of Brooklyn Boy the band, has morphed into something far bigger and more spectacular than I could ever have imagined”.
The rebranding of Brooklyn Boy to “Brooklyn Boy! – The Neil Diamond Story” has generated a lot of interest overseas as well as in the UK there are some new elements incorporated within the show that sets it poles apart from anything that has ever been done before.
Michael explains further “One of the new elements in the show hopefully helps to address the counterproductive effects of prejudice in its many ugly forms, whether it be black/white, rich/poor, fat/thin, gay/straight, old/young, and the biggy…prejudice against a whole host of religions, the Jewish religion being one of many that have suffered badly because of their beliefs, so there will be threads of peace, forgiveness and humility running through the show albeit in a subtle way so as not to detract from the main theme which of course is The Neil Diamond Story”
Everyone without exception on the Brooklyn Boy team are strong believers in promoting the subtle messages that thread their way throughout the show, the Neil Diamond songs and music that help to deliver those messages do so in such a dramatic and powerful way.
Housed under the Brooklyn Boy banner there are three distinct shows on offer, each one of which maintains a degree of flexibility in order to accommodate (as far as possible) the clients venue size and/or financial constraints, from the smallest of venues to largest stadium sized venue, a short brief of all three shows are given below:
1. Brooklyn Boy (solo show using backing tracks or in-house band) this show is basically the same as its predecessor “The Neil Diamond Tribute Show” which enjoyed a successful run for nearly fifteen years and which essentially became the flag ship for the other two shows. In view of the fact that it is the smallest and most compact of the three it still maintains a high degree of sound and visual excellence and is uniquely suited to venues that have audience figures of up to and beyond three hundred and fifty and still manages to produce a show that can be likened to that of a Las Vegas cabaret venue. This show is also suited to performing at Weddings, Private parties, Holiday Parks and Resorts, Hotels, Cruises, and Corporate functions both in the UK and overseas. There is also the option of performing the show without the use of backing or click tracks as there is a full set of charts/dots available to hand to any in-house bands that a venue may have.
2. Brooklyn Boy – The Show (Using a selection of the Brooklyn Boy band members, between 5-10 member line up, eight being the average) this show is a perfect extension to the previous one, with more glitz and glamour than you can shake a stick at, probably the most prominent difference between this show and the previous one is the sound and feel that only a live band can deliver, with all of the musicians being highly respected professionals, this show promises an unforgettable Neil Diamond experience, with Michael ”Brooklyn Boy” Douglas performing all of the maestro’s classics with incredible vocal precision, it is however; also worth noting that this show is not generally suitable for venues that have an audience capacity of less than 450 unless of course the venue has both the space and the budget at their disposal.
3. Brooklyn Boy – The Neil Diamond Story (Using all 14 Brooklyn Boy band members) this long awaited show is starting to cause a global buzz of anticipation and is gearing itself up for a world tour. With a full complement of highly skilled musicians, the predictions are that this show will be a sell-out. The full line-up of musicians consists of 2x keyboard players, 1x percussionist, 2x Sax players, 1x Trumpet, 1x Trombone, 1x Drummer, 3x Guitarist (Bass, Rhythm, Lead), 3x Backing vocals, plus of course Michael doing the lead vocals. Add to the melting pot the use of state of the art technology in the form of IT presentations and holographic imagery being projected, and with the best of the best sound and lighting engineers giving this epic show the benefit of their knowledge and expertise, the recipe for success is guaranteed. Having vaguely touched on the story line in an earlier paragraph, here is a brief synopsis of the opening of the show, lasting about seven minutes:
OPENING (Completely darkened stage and auditorium)
Some pre-recorded appropriate incidental music begins to play to set the mood which is playing over the top of some large scale holographic images of Neil’s grandparents leaving their native homeland in Russia to carve out a life for themselves in America, which was and is (even to this day) renowned for being the “land of opportunity.” then (secondly) some stills and footage of the war years with particular attention being drawn to the exodus of the Jewish concentration camp refugees in Poland followed by some footage from on the decks of one of the liberty ships heading towards America and the Statue of Liberty coming into view, at the beginning of the second sequence the incidental music drops out, to be replaced by Michael singing/reciting (accapella) Kol Nidre under two dimmed blue spotlights, he will also be wearing a Jewish Cantors Robe, and singing underneath him, a male voice choir supporting Michael’s recital.
“Kol Nidre” is significant for two reasons, one because it is recited/sung during a ceremony known as Yom Kippur (Day of atonement – forgiveness) in Jewish Synagogues, and secondly because Neil sang Kol Nidre in his film “Jazz singer” at the end of Michael’s recital the two blue spots fade to black, during the blackout Michael quickly disrobes and makes his way from stage right to centre stage, once in position two single pin spots come up on his position, he then continues to sing almost speak (Virtually accapella) the opening lines to the song “America” the lines will be sung with pauses at various intervals in order to create a feeling of great anticipation, ie: Far…………….we’ve been travelling…..far……………………without a home………………….but not without ……….A star! At the point where “A Star” is verbalised, a holographic projection is used to simulate a brightly coloured star being thrown (by Michael) high into the air, and as it travels through the air it appears to grow in size shining brightly as it does so, once having reached its resting point and having grown to many times larger than it was when it was first thrown, it lingers for around five seconds and then explodes into thousands of smaller brightly shimmering coloured stars, disappearing as they float downwards, during this pause the drums flam their way through the toms to a cymbal crash at which point, pyro’s and full stage lights come up illuminating the rest of the band which by now have also started playing the song “America” again, and therefore opening the show.
Well, from such a dramatic opening, the remainder of the show lacks nothing of the power and glitz that one hopes for, Michael’s on stage charisma creates an atmosphere that can only be described as electric, and throughout his entire performance he woos his audience into total submission, not a single member of the audience will leave the theatre disappointed.
The Brooklyn Boy umbrella is somewhat larger than Michael had originally anticipated it would be, but hey! That’s show business…right? Enjoy the rest of your visit, better yet the show “Brooklyn Boy!” – The Neil Diamond Story.
POTTED HISTORY -
Michael was born in 1954 in the heart of the coal mining industrial coastal town of South Shields in the North East. At the age of four he was thrust into the lime light in the form of a talent contest, a giant stick of rock/candy and a can of shandy was up for grabs, rich pickings indeed for a four year old who needed to do no more than to look cute with a plastic toy guitar in his hands and strum his favourite chords “P minor and Z flat” and to accompany his …rather dodgy guitar playing by singing an early Cliff Richards rendition, of the subsequent classic “Heartbr ... eak Hotel”. The whole experience was to become the catalyst for a lifelong commitment to the entertainment industry.
In the years that followed Michael honed his skills as a singer, and took to song writing as another means of expression. Mindful of the need to push forever forward, conquering the UK’s renowned north eastern club circuit was to become Michael’s next goal, the tough rough cut coal miners and burley shipbuilders were a hard audience to please, such was the reputation of the North Eastern audiences, totally merciless in telling whoever was entertaining them exactly what they thought of them, the upside was that if they liked you, you could be smug about having cracked it, with all this in the forefront of his mind, the Brigham & Cowan social club became his first professional gig, the venue was renowned for being a particularly hard place to play, Michael dived in at the deep end with a sink or swim attitude and figured that if he came away from the place swimming, the rest of the clubs by comparison would be relatively easy, he swam like a fish, Michael achieved his objective and conquered the North East and gave himself a well deserved pat on the back. He now felt it time to spread his wings and move to pastures new, by playing in clubs and pubs around the country, fronting bands in between pursuing a solo career, treading new boards as a singer/songwriter, knocking on the doors of London’s Tin Pan Alley, the renowned Denmark Street...the Mecca of the U.K’s music industry.
In subsequent years Michael has opened himself up to a world of entertainment possibilities by allowing himself to experience many other fields of the industry, acting was always and still remains to this day, a secret love, partly because acting allowed him yet another way of exercising another means of expression, and to that end has done T.V. stage and radio, and as a songwriter continues to explore other possibilities by writing plays for radio and stage, and also dabbling in the fictional world of storytelling for the general reading public. Catwalk modeling held a mild interest for him, but music is and has always remained a constant in his life. He has met some eminent figures from within the industry circles and swapped notes and received advice and tips along the way, such Figures as the much missed Freddy Mercury, George Harrison and Phil Lynott, but others thankfully still living include Manfred Mann, P J Proby, Paul Mccartney, Brian May (during the days when Freddy was still with us), David Bowie, and also Elton John. There have been others both from the world of music and from film, but none that have had as much influence over the career turns that Michael has made over the years as those previously mentioned.
Then one day the tribute market opened for business, and Michael was quick to realize its potential, and although it was met with a great deal of skepticism in the early days by a less than sympathetic public, it has steadily grown into one of the most lucrative revenue generators in the industry today. Elvis Presley is arguably one of the most emulated of the high profile stars, but sadly it is also fair to say that the majority of tributes to the big stars, fail to meet up to the exacting standards that have subsequently been set by what is unfortunately the minority of tribute artiste’s who’s good work and high level of professionalism, is a living testament to the longevity of the stars that they portray, the consequence of the discerning tribute artiste’s hard work is that it maintains in the hearts and minds of the fans, the memory of the stars that the fans might otherwise never get to see live, especially in the case of those stars that may have passed on.
Michael has shown himself to be among that exceptional breed of tribute artiste’s with his tribute to the great and thankfully still very much alive, Neil Diamond, whose songwriting prowess has resulted in a total record sales well in excess of 115 million through out a career that has spanned more than five decades and still going strong.
“All the hits, all the energy and all the excitement of one of the world’s greatest singer songwriters...the genius that is Neil Diamond. Brought to you by one of the country’s top tribute artistes, Michael Douglas has spared no effort in his quest to present his audience with authentic vocals, costumes and mannerisms that are the trademark of the great man himself. All the classic songs are there...Cracklin' Rosie - Sweet Caroline - America - Love On The Rocks and many others, all performed with the professionalism and confidence that only an experienced performer can deliver.”
THE NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE SHOW is one of the few shows that will appeal to all audiences and all ages. No one is immune to the catchy, well crafted and soulful songs and the unmistakable vocal growl of Neil Diamond, expertly recreated by Europe’s number one Neil Diamond tribute artiste.
THE NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE SHOW is available for work in the UK or Overseas. Suitable for hotels, cruises, holiday parks/resorts, social clubs, private and corporate events (big and small) brand launches etc. The show can be completely self contained with sound and light if required, or can work with in house sound and light and band if required (a full set of music charts are also available for in house band if required). Michael Douglas is a very friendly and accommodating artiste and is 100% professional both on and off stage.” The show also has a fifteen piece band “Brooklyn Boy!” – The Neil Diamond Story which can of course be broken down into smaller line up’s according to venue size and budget restrictions.
Michael has been performing as a Neil Diamond Tribute for nearly twenty years, but has nearly fifty years as an entertainer as both a singer songwriter and front man in various bands. His experience within the industry as a whole is vast and has a highly professional work ethic. his friendly and approachable manner is apparent both on and off stage.
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