REGION — Diehard Neil Diamond fans all over the globe were devastated when he announced his retirement from the road last year due to a Parkinson’s diagnosis, none more so than Jay White. White is known all over the world for being the No. 1 Diamond performer, and he found a way to pick up the torch and pay tribute to his music idol with the Sweet Caroline Tour, which will come to San Diego’s Spreckels Theater on Saturday, November 21.
In addition to entertaining audiences, many of the concerts on the Sweet Caroline Tour benefit local charities including the upcoming San Diego show.
“We’re really excited about the show at Spreckels Theatre because, in addition to delivering an amazing Neil Diamond show, we’re able to assist Encinitas Magdalena Ecke YMCA’s push to raise funds for their new program to support Parkinson’s patients and families in the region,” Steve Tatone, producer and tour manager said.
The tour has been criss-crossing North America for the last 20 months and shows are scheduled across the U.S., Australia and Europe over the next two years. “The audience response has been electric,” Tatone said. Both diehard ‘Diamondheads’ and concert-goers of all ages still crave Neil Diamond’s music performed authentically. Jay and the band deliver the goods … and then some.”
Tatone says that White has earned the blessing of Diamond and his family to carry on his legacy. “Jay has been doing this for more than 30 years and has been embraced and encouraged by Neil Diamond and his family,” he said. “When you watch him perform all the classics on stage and listen to his dynamic band it’s easy to see why. It’s an incredible ensemble of musicians and voices including Mr. Diamond’s legendary congo player/percussionist of 40 years, King Errisson.”
Songs performed on the tour span Diamond’s 50-year career. “We take his inspirational canon of songs — the hits and the lesser known gems — and perform them in the most reverent and joyfully inspirational way Diamond fans everywhere need and have come to expect,” Tatone said.
White has performed over 8,000 concerts worldwide and had the pleasure of meeting Diamond twice. He said of Neil and his family: “Their kindness and acceptance have always been greatly appreciated. … I will continue to pay homage through each and every performance to the man who has meant so much, to so many, for so long, especially me.”
Promoter Wayne Label got involved with the Sweet Caroline Tour when Tatone reached out to him when he was president of the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego. “We chose the Magdalena Ecke YMCA to be the beneficiary of the San Diego show because of the work they are doing for Parkinson’s patients,” Label said.
“They are the second largest YMCA in the country and have an innovative exercise program. They integrated the Rock Steady boxing program, which is dedicated to Parkinson’s patients, and expanded it to include other exercises proven to improve Parkinson’s symptoms.”
The hope, Label said, is with help from the community and some of the proceeds from events like the Sweet Caroline Tour show in San Diego, Magdalena Ecke can become a practice ground for the other YMCAs across the country. “We want to help the YMCA do more for Parkinson’s patients nationwide,” he said.
The Sweet Caroline Tour will hit the stage at Spreckels Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12.
Tickets are available at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA at 200 Saxony Road in Encinitas or at ticketmaster.com.
Bus transportation will be available from the YMCA for the benefit concert event.