March 4, 2024
May 16, 1970
Diamond A Hit Without Hard Rock Sounds
By Zach Dunkin
Rock singer-writer Neil Diamond made his Indianapolis debut a successful one when he treated two sellout crowds to one of the most refreshing acts ever staged at Clowes Hall.
The entire performance Saturday night was different from the rock concerts in town recently. The clean-cut vocalist had no long stringy hair or sloppy clothes and played none of the current “hard and heavy” acid-rock sounds that dominate the music charts today.
Even his back-up group–Randy Sterling, bass, female guitarist Carol Hunter and drummer Eddie Ruben–had a clean sound and appearance.
The young, good-looking Brooklyn native proved to be a first-rate entertainer as well as a fine vocalist and lyricist.
After performing “Sweet Caroline,” a strong vocal and guitar-bass-drum beating tune, Diamond told the audience how nice it was to be in town this time of year. He joked that he even had seen “Andy Granatelli selling his STP at the corner gas station.”
Unlike a lot of young performers, Diamond chatted with the audience the entire evening. He captured their complete adoration.
Diamond, who started writing at 14, rambled through his roster of “Solitary Man,” “Thank The Lord for the Nighttime,” “Cherry, Cherry,” and “Kentucky Woman,” in addition to a few of his favorite tunes by other artists.
May 18, 1970
Neil Diamond Packs Hall Twice
By Rita Vandeveer
If diamonds are a sign of wealth, there’s no doubt that one Diamond we know will live up to his name. With box-office receipts clutched in one hand and his guitar in the other, singer Neil Diamond conquered two sell-out crowds Saturday night in Clowes Hall.
And, also like a diamond, he glistened brightly. This Brooklyn Boy Wonder, a singer and composer since the age of 15, is a real audience-grabber. Strong on the pop music for the past five years, Diamond is still going steadily with youth and talent on his side.
Diamond proved that you don’t have to be completely “freaked out” to be “with it.” His hair was longish, but not a la Tiny Tim, and his clothes (red shirt with gray bell-bottoms) were more Carnaby Street than Haight-Asbury.
Audience rapport, that one important ingredient in a successful performance, was established right away, and Diamond’s comments and witticisms added spice to his music. “Sweet Caroline,” “Solitary Man,” “Thank The Lord For The Nighttime,” “Holly Holy,” “Kentucky Woman,” “Both Sides Now” and “Cherry” were his parade of hits.
His first couple of songs became somewhat lost and distorted when Diamond chose to practically swallow the microphone–the tactic used by more amateurish singers of being loud to cover up vocal inadequacies. But that’s not the case with Diamond, and he remedied the situation quickly. His voice has a fuzzy, resonant quality–and it sells a lot of records.
When not singing, Diamond joked about Indiana’s “wonderful weather that welcomed us” tried to see how far into the balcony he could make the spotlight reflect off his guitar, and requested those who brought cameras to flash their bulbs in total darkness to see the effect.
Putting himself in the place of the preacher, Diamond’s offering of “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” was emotion-paced and won him a standing ovation.
Also on the bill was comedian Sandy Baron of Hey, Landlord television fame. His jokes, which might be funny to a college or adult crowd, were in extremely bad taste for the high school-age-and-under members of the audience.
One quip about astrology had him admitting he was a Taurus, the bull, “which is appropriate because I’ve died before a crowd many times.”
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