THURSDAY

The bigger a performer gets, the smaller he becomes in concert. By the time he hits the stadium circuit, he’s rocking the nosebleed seats like a faraway storm, the thunder of the PA rolling into the upper bleachers long after the lightning of the onstage pyro has struck. Fans unfortunate enough to have missed out on an act’s small-club salad days suffer the indignity of forking over a hundred bucks to watch the show on closed-circuit TV. Enter the tribute band. The trade-off is clear: You sacrifice authenticity for intimacy. Talented stand-ins attempt to recapture the magic that is perhaps fading in an artist grown long in the tooth. Once upon a time, the tribute band was derided. Do not the Dead Milkmen’s japes at Doors-alike Crystal Shit still sting? But the cheesier the original act, the more respectable its double. Consequently, Bjorn Again is an almost noble enterprise, and there is no shame in spending one’s career as fat Elvis. Standing at the top of the tribute heap is Super Diamond: the Neil Diamond Experience, a San Francisco outfit that has been anointed by the man himself. Alas, though Randy “Surreal Neil” Cordeiro is a believer, his larynx was not blessed with the natural grit of that which growled “Forever in Blue Jeans” while draped in dozens of pounds of rhinestones. All tribute-band theory aside, the inescapable tragedy of Super Diamond is that the gravel and gravitas of Neil Diamond can truly belong to one man alone—and he ain’t in the band, babe. Super Diamond plays at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $20. (703) 218-6500. (Glenn Dixon)

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