September 27, 2023
January 24, 1970
Rock-Pop-Folk Vocalist Woos, Soothes, Hypnotizes
By Velma Clyde
Neil Diamond, popular singer of a blend of rock-pop-folk songs wooed, soothed, hypnotized and aroused a Civic Auditorium audience that filled the last rows of the balcony Friday night. Few in the full house were over 30.
A polite, but restive audience was entertained for a full hour by comedian Albert Brooks, an effective monologist with effervescent energy whose humor played upon obscure incongruities and overstatement in negatives.
Diamond came on, after the intermission looking pale and tired, from what he described as a “rough jet flight.” Whether his listlessness was affected or real was difficult to determine for he came to life with zest and tremendous vocal vigor as he went into his repertoire of his own compositions.
A tongue in cheek Brooklyn-Western brought the first big audience response, and since there was no program if one didn’t know the song the title was lost.
Whether it was the acoustics or the normal velocity of Diamond’s three musical accompanists the latter seemed to drown the singer’s lusty baritone voice. Randy Sterling, who looked like the knave in a medieval Flemish painting, and Carol Hunter were guitarists with Eddie Ruben on the drums.
Understanding of the words, however, is negligible because the vocal sounds become or are a part of the instrumentation.
The singer’s popular composition “Holly Holy” brought the first whistles and the hypnotic quality of his rhythm was evident in the quiet attentiveness of the audience in “Sweet Caroline.”
A reserved kind of audience participation proved the sturdiness of the Civic Auditorium construction when only bare vibrations could be discerned with 6,004 hands clapping and feet tapping.
The singer’s autobiographical song “Brooklyn Roads” gave a quiet audience an opportunity to enjoy the singer’s resonant baritone voice, for drums and guitars were silent. Carol Hunter played a very soft accompaniment to the emotion-packed song.
“Halleluiah,” written the singer said, after he had attended a revival to be converted to the idea of offering people “something,” brought the clapping audience to its feet, and the concert to a close.
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