'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.