'Good times never seemed so good' on Saturday night as Neil Diamond performed to a sold out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. I've long maintained that Diamond's (sadly no relation) catalog of hits is ideally suited to the Broadway stage and I will continue waiting for someone to tap his goldmine of theatrical tunes.
New York City born and raised, at 71, he continues to perform high octane, intermission free two hour plus concerts (we share a last name, but sadly not an energy level) backed by a great band that's toured with him for 35+ years and truly rocked.
Four decades after his 'Hot August Night' at the Greek Theatre in LA became the quintessential live concert album, Saturday's concert paid tribute to that amazing success and the culmination of a 55 city tour. Filled with top notch lighting, sound, production and of course music, the Vegas crowd was up on its feet for much of the night.
The hit-filled set list Diamond performed included Soolaimon, Beautiful Noise, Forever in Blue Jeans, Love on the Rocks, Hello Again, Play Me, Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon, Red Red Wine, Solitary Man, Glory Road, I'm a Believer, Cracklin' Rosie, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Crunchy Granola Suite, Mornigside, Holly Holy, Sweet Caroline, I Am I Said, America and Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show.
Those 20 tunes are just the tip of the iceberg of a long list of song-writing credits that's helped him sell 115 million records since the 1960s and have made him one of my personal favorites along with tens of thousands of others who fill his always sold-out arena tours across the country and around the world.
Diamond's combination of songwriting talent, musicianship and a live stage presence make his concert performances soul-lifting experiences that are simply not to be missed. In the film WHAT ABOUT BOB? Bill Murray noted that "there are two kinds of people in this world, those that like Neil Diamond and those who don't." Well, I've never met anyone who's seen him live that falls in the latter category, and for good reason.
Here's hoping for a 50th Anniversary of Hot August Night, because as age shows no signs of slowing him down - if there's anyone that can do it, it's Neil Diamond. I'll be there. And, if you're listening Broadway producers - I'll be there as well.
Posted on September 02, 2012 - by
About the Author:Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more. The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine. Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.) As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need. Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week. Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog. In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.