Neil Diamond: Rob Garrett

Artist Info

Like his legendary counterpart, Rob was born and grew up in New York City, learning to play the guitar at age 14. His main influences while growing up were Elvis, the Beatles, and quite naturally Neil Diamond. In 1974 he moved to Las Vegas along with his parents and younger brother.

In 1980 he formed the group "Rock 'n' Roll Heaven" and for 15 years achieved prominence as the leader and front man of that city's premiere "oldies" and classic rock group. "I grew up just as Rock & Roll was taking over the world, so it was in my blood from the very beginning”. When the Beatles arrived at Kennedy Airport in 1964 I was living right there in the middle of it all! I saw Elvis for the very first time in 1972 at Madison Square Garden when he was in his prime, during the live concert years. It changed my life forever, and I ended up seeing him yet another 22 times before his untimely death." Rob finally got to see Neil Diamond in his first Las Vegas concert engagement. "It was the July 4th weekend in 1976 - America's bicentennial, when he opened the "Theater for the Performing Arts" at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino. He held the audience including myself spellbound and broke all existing Las Vegas concert records at that time. I had been a fan since 1969 and I'd always thought that he had written some of the most poignant lyrics I'd ever heard and I knew he had a way of expressing his lyrics and music in a way that no other singer/songwriter had done so before or since". When "Rock 'n' Roll Heaven" took off in 1980 the band always covered a very wide spectrum of music from 1954 till the present and maintained that format. "I would always copy certain artist's voice and mannerisms when I performed their songs but when the song was over I moved on to the next one. I would always get the strongest reception when I did my “Neil” imitation”. In 1995 Rob made the decision to take his career in a new dimension by bringing the “live” performances of Neil Diamond to the stage. He was personally hired by John Stuart and Paul Revere (of 'The Raiders") to portray Neil Diamond in the "Legends In Concert" show in Honolulu, Hawaii, that city' s biggest theatrical show and most popular "impersonation" type show in the world. Rob's portrayal of Neil leans towards the 1976-1981 era because of the obvious age difference. "I figure the only advantage I have over him is that he can't be that Neil anymore". What was to be a two-month "trial" engagement for Rob, turned into 3 years. “Neil's a phenomenon as witnessed by any of his recent sold out concerts. Anytime he decides to hit the tour circuit he breaks attendance records and always ends up as one of the top 5 money grossing concert attractions of the year. He has become this polished consummate performer who doesn't rely on big production and choreography to make his show work. He's the last of the breed that I refer to as minstrels, the performers who get on the stage for 2 hours plus with just their guitars and backup band, and can still bring an audience to their knees. He's still got it, but unfortunately it seems as if he's touring less often these days and when he does tour it's in select places and always sold out way in advance.

There are many people who would like to but never get the chance to see him perform. I love the challenge of re-creating the performances of this great musical legend who I hope still has many years of performances left in him." said Rob.

In 1998 Rob decided to return home to Las Vegas where he continued to perform as “Neil Diamond” for Legends in Concert and similar shows. He has become known across the country as the “King of Diamonds”. He has also performed his one man “Neil” show in countless venues across the nation.

In July 2000, while Rob was performing for the Premiere cruise line, legendary drummer, Ron Tutt (Neil Diamond’s drummer since 1981, and Elvis Presley’s drummer from 1969 - 1977), caught Rob’s act while vacationing with his wife.

Rob was praised by the Tutt’s for his ability to recreate Neil’s act and was told, “You have got him down!” On New Years Eve 2001, Rob was asked to open (as “Neil) for Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons in the Riviera Hotel/Casino Convention Center. He performed to rave reviews in front of 4000 paying customers.