Nearly Neil

  • Nearly Neil

BIOGRAPHY

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, clamouring 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 honoured 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

"Nearly Neil - a diamond among impersonators."- Susanne Hiller, National Post

In 1994, a "legend" was born in Toronto when Bobby Bruce's incomparable talent for impersonating Neil Diamond came to life on stage. He has never looked back. Bobby began his career with some of the biggest shows in the business including Legends of Rock and Las Vegas based Legends in Concert. In 1998, Bobby created his own show - Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band now a regular fixture at elite casinos and theatres across North America and beyond.

"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." - Samela Harris. Adelaide Advertiser, Australia

Bobby is enjoying an exceptional career. His travels stretch from Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to the Cayman Islands. Aboard luxury liners at sea, to corporate giants or for the King and Queen of Malaysia- Bobby continues to impress. On his first national tour of Australia, the press dubbed him "Nearly Neil" and the name stuck.

"Nearly Neil is legendary on the west coast." - Allison Cunningham-McMillan, TV Times

In spring of 2002, Artizan Productions released MOCKSTARS, a million dollar feature length documentary about Canadian tribute artists. Bobby was an integral part of their pitch at the 2000 Banff Television Festival. MOCKSTARS enjoyed its worldwide television premiere in May 2002 on Bravo in Canada. MOCKSTARS continues to air nationally and internationally.

"Bobby Bruce, music impersonator and razzle-dazzle entertainer par excellence." - John P McLaughlin, The Province

Bobby is the consummate entertainer always looking for new ways to express himself 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 which toured Bosnia in 2003 entertaining the troops stationed there. Also in 2003, Bobby headlined his first Nearly Neil national tour of New Zealand.

"Once in a lifetime there is one act that stands out from the rest. The one that looks the spitting image of the person they are impersonating, one that as soon as they open their mouth you honestly believe you are listening to the real thing. We have found that one person who gives a unique and outstanding performance of one of the world's greatest and most popular stars over the last 30 years. Neil Diamond as portrayed by Canadian entertainer Bobby Bruce." - Lesley Board, Auckland Weekend Sun

The Bobby Bruce Band burst onto the scene in Vancouver at the River Rock and Boulevard Casinos in early 2004 and continues to be a favourite with Canada's highest profile corporations. Bobby's all-Canadian content show Canadian-A also enjoys growing popularity with fairs and festivals. In 2005, Bobby made a triumphant return to musical theatre as the Emcee in Cabaret.

"Bobby Bruce is a dynamo as the ultra-sleazy Emcee." - Jerry Wasserman, The Province

In 2006, Bobby was very pleased to receive the "Entertainer of the Year Award" from the Pacific National Exhibition. In additional to writing and recording original music, Bobby has kept busy recently with tours to Hawaii, Malaysia and a very successful seven week Tour of Australia. He will round out the summer of '09 by returning for an encore tour of Australia and then returning to Vancouver close out the Pacific National Exhibition, his twelfth year running. Finishing out 2009, Bobby is thrilled to bring his Nearly Neil show on a national US tour that will take him to over 50 American cities and continue into 2010.

"I have to say this is one of the most fun musical events I have ever been to in my life." - Steve Rukovina, CBC

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