Los Angeles, California - Doug Weston's Troubadour

Sep 23, 1969

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  1. L. A. Times

    September 24, 1969

    Neil Diamond in Troubadour Debut
    By Robert Hilburn

    Neil Diamond, who is making his Los Angeles debut this week at the Troubadour, is an excellent reminder of what made early rock such an exciting sound. The writer of such songs as “Sweet Caroline” and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” exhibited at his opening Tuesday the same strong vocal and pounding guitar-bass-drum beat that ushered in the new era in pop music in the mid-1950s.

    It is a flowing, unpretentious, driving sound that has been lost in much of today’s sophisticated rock and poetic searching. It is nice to have Diamond bring it back again.

    Kind of Singer

    Diamond, who will be at the Troubadour through Sunday, is the kind of singer–he even moves his hips on the fastest numbers–who would have been at home with such early rock stars as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Conway Twitty.

    Despite his many record hits, Diamond has never received the critical attention he deserves. Perhaps it is because so many of his hits rely more on vocal and beat than on lyrics, the yardstick many apply to popular music today.

    Role of Lyrics

    Certainly, the words of such songs as “Cherry, Cherry” and “I Got the Feeling” contribute little to the success of the numbers. On the songs, Diamond’s other strengths–the pure rock (as opposed to blues-rock or soul) voice and the simple but relentless rhythm–play the largest role.

    On “Solitary Man’ and “Sweet Caroline” however, the lyrics do play a part in the development of mood. But it is on “Brother Love’s…” that he turns out his most effective lyrics.

    His rendition including a brief explanation of how he wrote the song after attending a revival meeting in Mississippi and seeing the hope the audience got from it, is an enormously effective closing number.

    Diamond is more than just a replay of the 1950s. He is a gifted singer.


  2. Hollywood Reporter

    September 25, 1969

    Night Club Review–Troubadour

    Neil Diamond walks on the stage of Doug Weston’s Troubadour looking as though he just woke up and would like to go back to sleep. He carries a shiny black guitar, positions himself, and sings “You Can’t Change Me.” Weston’s place should profit well from this popular young singer and his followers shouldn’t be disappointed judging from opening night reactions of the packed house.

    Diamond’s tunes, largely his own, and his sound, basically rock touched with country and western and gospel, are often moving and at all times driving and exciting. Within his numbers, the young man from Brooklyn gives off a volatile, almost violent air, the aura that something is about to break loose. The paradox comes when the tune is completed and he begins to joke with the audience, introduces his backers and tells stories. He’s a nice guy, enjoys being there and performing. The feeling during the tunes is inherent and almost unintentional. It is that charisma that can keep Diamond in demand for quite a while if nurtured properly.

    Nearly every tune performed during Diamond’s opening night stanza met with vocal audience approval after the first few notes from the humorous “The Only Rooster in the Henhouse” to his current hit “Brother Love. “Sweet Caroline” was a hit of the evening with its excellent low beginning which built beautifully in emotion and power. “Brooklyn Roads,” which he described as ‘sort of a biography,’ was given an excellent arrangement and had the audience sitting motionless as Diamond softly sang the story of a kid wanting out and away from those roads.

    Adding to the mood created and heightening the emotion was the distant-sounding guitar of Carol Hunter, haunting and lovely, and the heartbeat bass of Randy Sterling. Drummer Eddie Ruben handles his specialty nicely. His closer, “Brother Love,” was prefaced with remarks of how it came about and as he discarded his guitar and became a backwoods preacher for the tune, he tightened his grip on the audience and brought them to its feet for a standing ovation, the first this reviewer has seen at the Troubadour.


  3. Billboard

    October 4, 1969

    Neil Diamond–Troubadour, L.A.
    By A.P.

    Having snuck down to the Bitter End one night several years ago to hear Neil Diamond work out his concert act, we’ve always known that he was a fantastic performer. Because of various prejudices, Neil has never really been exposed properly in those major areas where the myriad of musical minds congregate, and so the legend of Neil’s dynamic stage presence was never born, and thus has never been circulated. Neil’s opening at the Troubadour last week, his first live appearance in many months and the beginning of a period of increased emphasis on live performances, changed all that. The Neil Diamond legend is on its way.

    Up until “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” Neil was not taken seriously by music critics in general. (His first Uni efforts, “Brooklyn Roads” and “Two Bit Manchild,” while musically heavy, never received the popularity they warranted and thus were unnoticed by most observers of the pop scene). The new interest in Diamond as a serious artist was quite evident from the heavy press attendance at the opening, and while there were some who might have come to scoff, they weren’t in evidence at the conclusion of the 45-minute set.

    The only change we detected in Diamond’s performance was a new looseness, a professional’s ease in winning the audience and keeping them on his side. His between-song commentary, though unrehearsed, was perfect, and what more can be said about such hits as “I Got The Feeling,” “Solitary Man,” “Cherry, Cherry” “Kentucky Woman,” “Sweet Caroline” and “Brother Love.” On stage, Diamond radiates the same sort of excitement that has made pop stars from Sinatra to Presley, and it’s a sensation that can’t be described, only felt.

    TV, movies, clubs…whatever the medium, Neil Diamond proved he can conquer it by his show last week.



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