We are giving away a pair of tickets to see Play ME, the music of Neil Diamond on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at the Winningstad Theatre. To win, comment on this post why you’d like to attend. Winner will be drawn and emailed Friday, July 19.
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From our sponsors:
Play ME, the music of Neil Diamond
July 27, 2013
8 p.m. | $41.50
The Dolores Winningstad Theatre
Located inside Antoinette Hatfield Hall
1111 SW Broadway (at Main Street), Portland, OR 97205
Kicking off their maiden national tour, Play ME brings its sensational tribute to Neil Diamond to the Winningstad Theatre. You won’t believe your ears when you first hear New Mexico’s own Neil Diamond, recording artist Chris Waggoner performing some of the most beloved, iconic Neil Diamond tunes, backed by his 10 piece “Play Me” Band.
The band routinely puts on high-powered, sold-out performances throughout its home state of New Mexico, and is now pleased and excited to kick off its first ever national tour in the musical mecca of Portland, OR.
How to challenge a group of musicians that want to form a tribute band for a legendary entertainer:
1. Choose an entertainer that is celebrated as one of the most reputed singer-songwriters, enigmatic stage presences, and best-selling artists in pop/rock history.
2. Make sure the entertainer has recently been immortalized as a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a Kennedy Center honoree.
3. Ensure that the tribute band cuts their teeth playing to audiences in a region where musical tastes are heavily skewed toward country-western, norteño, and Native American.
4. Scoff at their audacity.
This was the journey that lead vocalist and producer Chris Waggoner, bassist and arranger John Hyndman, and their ragtag group of musician friends boldly set out upon when they formed Play Me, A Tribute to Neil Diamond, in the spring of 2011 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Their ambition has paid off, as the band routinely puts on high-powered, sold-out performances accompanied by some of the area’s most talented musicians.
What started off as a fun little tribute show amongst a handful of friends has grown into a full-scale stage production, with a full range of horns, wind instruments, percussion, and background vocals from up to a dozen participants at a time. Many of them have been on the grind in the local scene for years as a part of other outfits playing a variety of musical styles.
Instead of just covering Neil Diamond’s iconic tunes, Play Me puts their own creative touches on them to create a magical experience. John, for example, composed original melodic and harmony lines in some of the songs so that horns and strings could be added in a way that fits stylistically and thematically with the overall show.
And for Chris, who channels Neil Diamond with vigor and intensity as the band’s frontman, Play Me has been a passion project thirty-plus years in the making. It’s no wonder audience members have been known to say that if you close your eyes, it truly sounds like you’re at a show with the Brooklyn Cowboy himself. This combination of talent, passion, and showmanship has made Play Me New Mexico’s premier Neil Diamond tribute act.