Zac Coombs has been enjoying Neil Diamond’s music since he was 6.
Three decades later, the 36-year-old is taking on the role of Diamond in Showtime Australia’s The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Tribute to Neil Diamond
The show will be staged in Gore next month, one of 25 stops on a nationwide tour.
“I’ve been a fan for most of my life, since I was growing up as a kid in Sydney,” Coombs said.
His father, also an entertainer, listened to a radio station that often played Neil Diamond songs.
Diamond’s music had stayed in Coombs’ life as an adult.
“I’ve travelled the world being a solo performer as well, on cruise ships. No matter where you go in the world, everybody is requesting a Neil Diamond song.”
He admired Diamond’s song-writing ability, a skill he had worked at himself, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You can study his work and learn a lot about how to construct a very good song.”
Conveying the intensity of Diamond’s voice was the most challenging part of the show.
“He’s got such a big voice that I have to carry through a two-hour show.
“There’s so much emotion in what he writes.”
He watched Diamond’s shows to gain pointers on his performance style.
“He loves to shake his hips a lot; I don’t think I’ve worked out my hips so much in my life.”
Despite the intensity of the shows, Coombs was able to keep his energy up.
“We’re bouncing around all of New Zealand but it’s a lot of fun.
“It’s the energy that’s around me that feeds me; a lot of it has to do with the crowd and the way they respond to it.”
He had performed as John Lennon in Beatlemania On Tour in Gore about five years ago, and was excited to return.
“I’m looking forward to coming back.. I love that part of the world.”
The show is at Gore’s St James Theatre on June 1.
To go in the draw to win a double pass to The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Tribute to Neil Diamond, like this story on The Ensign’s Facebook page and tag a friend you would like to go with.