A&E | Northwest Herald

Review: Joe Diamond brings magic to unique role as artist

Joe Diamond

It turns out that interviewing Joe Diamond (“Diamond for rare and unique, Joe for average”) is just as entertaining as one of his shows. Male or female, it’s easy to become a Joe Diamond groupie, although he prefers the word “patron,” as his fan club continues to grow.

Diamond isn’t limited to his home base, Studio 215 at The Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake. He has pretty regular gigs at Maxwell Mansion and Tristan Crist Theatre, both in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, when he’s not traveling the country or appearing on radio and TV shows. With COVID lockdowns, he’s also been seen all over the world in live-streamed shows from India to the United Kingdom.

But what is it about Diamond that keeps audiences coming back? Devotees and skeptics alike appreciate his constant reinventing of his shows, and his amazing unfathomable skills. Despite his being labeled a mystic, illusionist, magician and psychic, Diamond prefers the word “artist.” A good choice, because he’s definitely creating moments. He’s a genuinely nice man, he’s sincere, and he has a witty sense of humor that results in audience chuckles and guffaws. Diamond loves to connect and interact with his audience; the man has chemistry. There’s no fourth-wall separation.

Diamond’s been honored by Shaw Media’s Best of the Fox; in 2021, Mayor Haig Haleblian proclaimed Nov. 16 as Joe Diamond Day in Crystal Lake. Most recently, the International Psychic Association bestowed on Diamond the title of America’s Greatest Mind Reader for 2022, coincidentally the title of his current touring show. Diamond is also pretty infamous for his blindfolded drive around Woodstock Square in a 1966 GTO Pontiac, later repeated down Main Street in Crystal Lake, for solving the Richardson Farm corn maze, and hacking the Pentagon.

He’s also sweetly sentimental, as evidenced by his keeping in every show the joke: “I’m not a medium, I’m a large,” because it’s his wife Lindsey’s favorite, and probably repeat audience members’ too.

One particularly captivating and audience-hold-your-breath segment is the power staple gun effect, which focuses on the story of his grandfather’s good luck Swiss Army knife. In doing this trick, Diamond’s mentor, a sword swallower (and no, Diamond doesn’t do that – yet), reminded him, “It’s easy to make it gross, what can you do to make it beautiful?” and, surprisingly, he does.

Joe Diamond

Diamond constantly is thinking on his feet; he is the show, he is all alone on that stage. Whether it’s mind reading, bending spoons, interpreting dreams, or card illusions, he is in the moment and in control of the situation. Although he has learned from many, Diamond says he has been influenced the most by his great-grandmother, magicians Marshall Brodien and P.T. Murphy, stand-up comedian Steve Hofstetter, illusionist Uri Geller, and author Richard Webster.

Tracing my first review of a Diamond show to the Listening Room at The Dole in 2016, even then his show was interactive, fun and well-paced. Diamond’s shows continue to meet and exceed expectations, and fully engage in captivating audiences. If you want an introduction to Diamond, sample the YouTube clip showing how he “freaked out” WGN TV hosts Ana Belaval and Robin Baumgarten. Or watch Diamond’s subliminal mind reading ad currently running on the big screen at the McHenry Outdoor Theater. Owner Scott Dehn commented about the cheers and hundreds of car horns filling the air after the ad was shown: “I’ve never seen a movie get a reaction like that, let alone an ad.” Diamond confesses this is a special delight, as he grew up seeing movies there.

Diamond has shows scheduled throughout the summer: “Mystic” at The Dole, “Mind Reader” at Maxwell Mansion, and “Magic, Mind Reading and Mystery” at Red Oak. Diamond will be back at The Dole Gallery for his Halloween production, a new version of his show “Paranormal,” this time teaming with psychic medium Loren Purcell.

Diamond is a showman with great theatricality and exceptional skills. He says he really tries to “blur the lines between what people say can and can’t be done. Our minds can accomplish anything we set out to do.” And, frankly, there’s no better definition of Joe Diamond or a Joe Diamond show.

• Regina Belt-Daniels has been in love with the theater since the first grade. She has appeared onstage and backstage in many capacities ranging from performer to director. Currently serving on the theater boards of RCLPC and It’s Showtime Huntley, she is directing the upcoming ETC production of “I Hate Hamlet.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Joe Diamond

WHEN: Varied appearances

COST: $35-$120 dependent on show

INFORMATION: joediamondlive.com, 815-347-5481, WellAttended.com