Grand Rapids, Michigan - Knollcrest Fieldhouse

Feb 13, 1970

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  1. Grand Rapids Press

    February 14, 1970

    ‘Sparkling’ Diamond Enthralls Fans
    By BB

    Recording artist Neil Diamond sparkled brilliantly before an enthralled, capacity crowd of more than 4,500, Friday night at the Calvin College Knollcrest Fieldhouse.

    The dynamic vocalist, appearing a bit haggard and worn, still managed to execute the concert in a forceful and versatile manner.

    Diamond sang many of his big hits, including “Holly Holy,” Solitary Man,” Sweet Caroline” and, to cap off the memorable evening, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”

    The Fieldhouse provided a surprisingly fitting locale for Diamond’s extraordinary talents. The instrumentation, though at times a trifle loud, was excellent. Diamond is backed-up on his personal appearances by a vigorous and talented crew.

    The entire concert was a beautiful blend of rock ballads, scorching gospel and blues, and a smattering of country and western.

    The young singer from the Bronx drew the greatest response from the crowd with his closing number, the emotion-filled “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” Also included in this rendition was his “mini-sermon” in the middle of the song. In it he explained how he came to write the number, and described the atmosphere and significance of the revival meeting that inspired it.

    Part of the Universal Records artist’s success can be attributed to his uncanny ability to “zero in” on the feelings of people. He hasn’t lost that “common touch.” His modest and unassuming behavior on the stage left no doubt that he is one performer who sincerely cares about his audience.

    Diamond stated in an interview after the concert that he enjoys “the college concerts most because I can sense a fantastic rapport between us. After all, I’m only a few years older than most of them.”

    He classified “Solitary Man” as his best song and identified “Brooklyn Road” as the song that meant the most to him. When asked about the apparent religious overtones in many of his numbers, Diamond replied, “I write ‘up songs’ when I’m feeling good, and ‘down songs’ when I’m feeling lousy.

    “My ‘down songs’ often seem to have a religious motif because when I’m feeling down, God is the only one I can identify with.”

    Diamond didn’t hesitate to plug his television appearance on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, scheduled for showing in two weeks, and added that he will be the summer replacement for that show.

    Diamond remarked that his initial appearance in Grand Rapids was “a thoroughly enjoyable experience” and expressed a desire to return.

    It can safely be said that those who were in attendance Friday night would appreciate such an encore.



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