Don’t ever call Randy Cordeiro a Neil Diamond impersonator. “It’s a surreal interpretation,” explained the artist, who goes by the name “Surreal Neil” onstage. “I have a lot of fun with it.” Cordeiro and his band Super Diamond will be bringing that fun and classic Neil Diamond tunes with a twist to Old Princeton Landing on June 8 for a fundraiser for Holy Family Children’s Center.
Super Diamond isn’t just your garden variety cover band. During its 26 years together, the band has performed on “Late Night with David Letterman,” been a question on “Jeopardy,” and has been joined onstage by Neil Diamond himself — twice. The band plays concerts across the country and around the world. After the performance at the OPL, band members will be heading to Milan, Italy, in July.
Super Diamond has captured the essence of a Neil Diamond performance. Cordeiro imitates the singer’s distinctive, craggy bass-baritone and dramatic flair. He may wear sequins instead of beaded shirts, but the likeness is close enough to thrill any die-hard Diamond fan.
However, Super Diamond is not a straight-up copy of the icon. These Generation X musicians love to throw in little nods to the music of their generation. The audience at the OPL can expect to hear Neil Diamond with touches of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Oingo Boingo, Kiss, and Black Flag.
“We were all into that stuff,” said Cordeiro. “Hard rock in the late ’70s, New Wave. This way we get to add a little bit of creativity to the show.”
The band has invented some fun mash-ups with classic Diamond and classic rock. “Sweet Caroline” sits well with Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine,” as does Boston’s “Long Time” with Diamond’s “Desiree.”
It isn’t always easy to be a Neil Diamond tribute band. Beyond its avid fan base, response to Diamond’s music can sometimes be as much mockery as adoration. “It’s not like Neil is cool. He was never really cool,” said Cordiero, adding that “cheesy” ballads from the ’80s like “Heartlight” and “Hello Again” made Neil decidedly uncool with rockers.
But despite the “cheese” factor, Diamond’s music has continued to attract followers and thrill fans over the decades.
“His music is really fun,” said Cordeiro. “It’s just happy, positive music. And it really seems to cross through generations.”
The singer has some words of wisdom for every Neil Diamond fan out there:
“Whatever you do, don’t ever let anyone tell you that Neil Diamond doesn’t rock.”