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Nearly Neil & the Solitary Band
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nearly Neil & the Solitary Band

Tribute to the Music of Neil Diamond

Bobby Bruce is an exhilarating performer who has spent the last fourteen years astounding thousands of screaming fans throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with his amazing tribute to Neil Diamond.

A legendary path was set in motion in Toronto when Vancouver-born Bobby’s incomparable talent for impersonating Neil Diamond earned him a spot in a local tribute show in 1994. He has never looked back. Within a year, Bobby secured a spot with Las Vegas based Legends in Concert. His ten-month tour of the United States began in Bally’s Park Place in Atlantic City, and concluded at the Osmond Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

Branching out upon his success in the US, Bobby joined Legends of Rock for two tours of Australia. This is where he earned his moniker - the Australian press dubbing him "Nearly Neil" Diamond.

“Neil Diamond had better be wary he ever comes to town. Bobby Bruce is a hard act to follow. The Canadian impersonator not only mimics the great Neil Diamond to a tee but also implants some of his own pizzazz and style, a combination so clever and disarming that it brought the house down.”

--Adelaide Advertiser, Australia

His next tour took him to Kuala Lumpur, where he performed for the King and Queen of Malaysia. Upon returning to Vancouver, he decided to embark upon his own tribute path and leave the impersonation shows. He formed the Solitary Band and the “Nearly Neil Legend” began.

“Nearly Neil is legendary on the west coast”

--TV Times, Canada

Since, Bobby as Nearly Neil played for remarkable audiences, from corporate giants to his largest audience to date - 30,000 people in Calgary. He has entertained at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, onboard several luxury liners at sea in the South Pacific, and is a regular fixture at elite casinos across the country.

“Friday night at the Commodore Ballroom, the place is sold out, it’s 1969 again, and Neil Diamond reigns supreme. Good times never seemed so good. Swept into a happy frenzy, half the dance-floor crowd has scrambled on to the stage, clamoring around and singing with a man in purple sequins who throatily belts out a spot-on rendition of Sweet Caroline. He is Bobby Bruce, a Port Coquitlam singer and actor who’s carved a fulltime, 165 shows a year living out of being Nearly Neil. But as far as this crowd is concerned, tonight he is Neil.”

--Vancouver Sun, Canada

In spring of 2002, Artizan Productions released MOCKSTARS, a feature length million- dollar documentary about Canadian tribute artists. As an integral part of their pitch and presentation, Bobby stars prominently. MOCKSTARS enjoyed its worldwide television premiere in May 2002 on Bravo in Canada and continues to air nationally and internationally.
Bobby is the consummate entertainer, always looking for new ways to express his artist onstage. He not only shines as Nearly Neil, he outdoes himself as a myriad of outrageous characters in The Shagadelic Swingers, a musical tribute to the Austin Powers movies. With this show, Bobby proudly headlined a NATO tour of Bosnia in 2003. Later in the same year Bobby headlined his first Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band national tour of New Zealand.

“Wow, this man could really sing, it wouldn’t have mattered what song he was singing, whether it was Diamond or any other artist – he could sing. The throaty depth was there, the power was there and the sweetness was there, depending on what the song called for. I’m not sure how he kept his voice, but kept it he did, displaying his versatile talent from song one to the last encore. The Solitary Band’s performance was polished. Everything was timed to perfection; their onstage presence was totally professional and subtle. When it came to the final number, the two standing ovations told it all; an awesome performance and one not to have missed. I am pleased to suggest that sometimes, some imitators are as good as the real thing.”

--Whakatane Beacon, New Zealand

In the summer of 2004, Bobby brought Vegas quality entertainment home to Vancouver providing all the opening entertainment for the River Rock Casino. Starring in Canadian-A (an all-Canadian rock revue), his own self titled show – The Bobby Bruce Band and of course, headlining the weekends as Nearly Neil with the Solitary Band.

Continuing to expand upon his onstage talents, in the winter of 2005 Bobby made a triumphant return to musical theatre as the Emcee in Cabaret.

“Bobby Bruce (of Nearly Neil fame) plays the sexually omnivorous Emcee in this updated and considerably raunchier version of the 1966 stage musical, and he is irresistibly naughty.”

--Georgia Straight, Canada

The Pacific National Exhibition honored Bobby with their Entertainer of the Year Award in 2006, marking his ninth consecutive year entertaining at Western Canada’s largest fair. Continuing to be innovative in 2007, in addition to returning to Malaysia and the Cayman Islands, Bobby began writing and recording his own original album.

This year, Bobby with the Solitary Band will be returning for their 11th consecutive year at the PNE, Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band continue their monthly appearances at the River Rock and Boulevard Casinos, and in the fall, Bobby will be making his first return to Australia to tour as Nearly Neil in a decade.

From far off locations; such as Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo, to the Cayman Islands, to Hawaii, whether in a soft seat theatre, to a crowded nightclub, or to the Royal family; everyone knows, everyone goes, to Bobby Bruce’s shows.

“Bobby Bruce does Neil Diamond maybe better than the original.”

--Canadian Press