Meet David Jacobson

He’s a Believer

I really believe that we are creating magic," says resident David Jacobson, founder, guitarist, and lead singer of the "Neil Forever" Neil Diamond tribute band. "We pay homage to the man and his music and feel honored to do so."

Tribute bands are an essential part of modern culture. They keep the music of original artists alive who can no longer perform for audiences themselves. Neil Diamond is one of those examples. In March of 2023, he retired from his touring due to Parkinson. "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring," Diamond said. "I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years." It was a blow to fans across America and around the globe. 

Though he moved to Los Angeles in the 60s, Neil Diamond was born in Brooklyn and resided with his family on Long Island for a time. Local fans feel a solid affinity for him as an East Coast native. In his heyday in the late 60s and early 70s, Diamond played over a dozen 5,000-seat sold-out performances at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Ahead of his time technically, he added a quadraphonic sound system to create full surround sound. One of those performances was recorded and released as the chart-busting live double album Hot August Night with hits like Cracklin' Rose, Cherry Cherry, Holly Holy, Sweet Caroline, and Song Sung Blue. Cracklin' Rosie and Song Sung Blue hit No. 1 on the Hot 100. Most of Diamond's resounding performances at the Greek were accompanied by a 35-piece string orchestra.

A little over five decades later, in January of 2023, just before Diamond retired, David and his son and Music Director Dylan put together a tribute band showcasing a 14-member ensemble. Bandmates include John Cardoso (drummer), Anthony Raffa (keyboard, vocals), Ted Wyman (bass, vocals), Glen Gabberty (electric guitar), Eric Ziegelmeier (bongo, percussion), Jeanna Campo (lead vocals, harmony), horn section director Chris Scarnato (bari sax), Glen Gifford (trumpet), and Joe Devassy (trombone).

The group is headlining large venues throughout the Tri-State, playing to sold-out crowds and going on tour this spring. "Authenticity is important to us. Fans are transported back to the 70s, 80s, and 90s. A time when they filled stadiums like Madison Square Garden to see Diamond perform his greatest hits live on stage. Diamond fans let loose, sing the words, and become part of the experience."  

David started as a Queens kid until he was 13 when his family moved to Jericho, Long Island. "You can take the kid out of Queens, but you'll never take Queens out of the kid. It was a great place to grow up," says David. Uprooted from his school and friends, he felt like a fish out of water. When his brother introduced him to the guitar, he was hooked. "He eventually gifted me his 1967 Gibson ES-330 Cherry burst, which I still have today."

In high school, David and a couple of friends formed a band called the Black Diamond. One of those bandmates was John Carin, who became famous as a prodigious American musician, keyboardist, singer, songwriter, and producer collaborating with Rock icons such as Pink Floyd, the Who, Eddie Vedder, and currently touring with Pink Floyd's Co-Founder, Roger Waters. "John built an amazing career beyond that bunch of kids who loved jamming in the basement," says David. "I got the pleasure of meeting the Pink Floyd band members when I visited John backstage many years ago."

Music aside, David has a keen mind for business and a collector's eye for cars. Most people recognize him as the proud owner of Collector Car Showcase, a classic cars and memorabilia museum in Oyster Bay, which is also home to his company PCARMARKET. Early on, he started working for a car dealership, learning the business from front to back, then left to open GrooveCar, his brainchild, and firm that helps credit unions finance automobile purchases and leases, which he has since sold. The Museum idea developed long after his first purchase of a '69 Corvette, which he sold, making a couple extra dollars. "I discovered a love for vintage cars and that they are very good investment. The idea for adding memorabilia took hold while traveling around the country, seeing similar places in California, Florida, and Texas." Long Islanders are into car shows, swap meets, and Cars & Coffee phenom events. David considered the area's car culture and understood the value of opening a museum. "We get seniors, Boy Scouts, car clubs, generational groups (grandfathers, fathers, and grandchildren). It becomes a rite of passage."

Music has always been close to David's fingertips, playing and writing. How often have you asked someone, "Where were you when the Twin Towers fell in New York City?" David remembers being at home near his piano, and within the hour after the last fallen Tower, he penned the song The Hero Bells Ring. It was scored by a NYC conductor over six weeks, with each instrument of a 50-piece orchestra having its own part. David performed the finished piece at the Amphitheatre at Bald Hill, accompanied by the Long Island Philharmonic in front of a crowd of 12,000. The legendary outdoor, live music venue has hosted some of the biggest musical acts in history – from Ringo Starr and Chris Stapleton to James Brown and Cheap Trick. "To perform a song that I wrote from the depths of my heart in honor of those that lost their lives was bittersweet."

David is most proud of his children. "It is a joy to be on this journey with my son Dylan. He has a great understanding of music theory and tone. My daughter Kayla is a businesswoman who also likes to express herself creatively through music and acting. And my youngest son Josh, with my wife Christine, is into sports, especially hockey."

As for the future, David has high hopes for the band. "It would be a dream to do a national tour as well as travel abroad to countries such as Australia, which has enormous Neil Diamond fan base," says David. Music News recently announced an upcoming DVD release of The Thank You Australia Concert Live 1976. Diamond's performance at Sydney's Sports Ground was telecast live to the largest viewer audience in Australian history. 

Neil Diamond wrote many songs that became hits for other artists. The Monkees single I'm a Believer was written by Diamond and landed on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks in 1967. Diamond re-recorded I'm a Believer to become a staple on his touring setlist. David is also a believer – in Neil Forever. "Our 2024 tour dates include LI, CT, NJ, and MI. The sky is the limit because the fans are limitless. So, yeah, I'm a true believer."

To find upcoming tour dates for the “Neil Forever” Neil Diamond tribute band, go to