December 9, 2021
March 16, 1970
Talented Singer-Composer Scores High for Full House
By Catherine Campbell
Filling the Jubilee Auditorium isn’t an easy task–often talent and a big name aren’t enough. Neil Diamond, young singer-composer, has talent and fame–and Sunday night he had the full house he deserved.
Diamond held his young audience with the hit tunes which made him famous–Holly Holy, Thank the Lord for the Nighttime and Sweet Caroline–and others he will soon be able to add to his list of bestsellers.
For variety he threw in what he promised would be a country and western classic (“As you all know, my home town, Brooklyn is the heart of country music…”)
With a few verses of “You’re so sweet, horseflies keep hanging round you face” Diamond demonstrated his versatility as a performer and was ready for bigger and better things.
Backed up by a well-balanced trio, the more so because of an attractive female guitarist, he gave the audience a laconic invitation to “clap along if you feel up to it.”
Subtle toe-tapping and finger-drumming exploded into spontaneous rhythmic clapping which continued to accompany all the more vibrant numbers like Kentucky Woman.
But Diamond is basically a gentle, low-key performer–with no need to yell at his audience.
Perhaps it is his total involvement with his music–in writing, composing and singing–that becomes so obvious on stage–and is so attractive.
His show-business beginnings were always in the background, songwriting for those who had already made it–Andy Williams, Bobby Vinton, Jay and the Americans–and the Monkees.
Two of the most famous Monkee hits, I’m a Believer (which sole more than 10 million copies) and A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, were Diamond creations.
Then he discovered he could sing. (“What I wanted most in the world was to hear myself on the radio…it kind of gives you an edge with the girls…”)
Diamond’s voice is strong, emotional, sometimes a bit rough–but it sells. Sweet Caroling and Holly Holy became gold singles and he now has three albums to his credit.
But in Calgary Sunday night it took Diamond’s inevitable encore to prove conclusively his ability to come across to a live audience.
He sat and talked. He described a revival meeting he had watched in Mississippi–where the poor crowded to hear gospel singers and their preacher.
Then he put all he had into a powerful, passionate song inspired by the meeting.
Diamond walked off the stage for the last time then, exhausted. He left behind him the atmosphere of the revival meeting–everyone was standing and clapping.
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