Buffalo, New York - Kleinhans Music Hall

Jul 10, 1970

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  1. Buffalo News

    July 11, 1970

    But the Crowd Liked Diamond
    By James Brennan

    Can a boy from Flatbush Ave. find fame and fortune as a rock ‘n’ roll star?


    But in a concert Friday evening in Kleinhans Music Hall, Neil Diamond, nationally known recording star from Brooklyn, came across insipidly with a pseudo-gospel rock singing style.

    His loud delivery, something short of an undisciplined field holler, had a very depreciative air about it although the audience of 2500 liked him.

    His harsh handling of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” gave one the feeling that his look at the “clouds” and “illusions” was disparaging and pessimistic. Again, this feeling could have arisen from his rough shouting vocal texture rather than from any interpretive intent on his part.

    The lyrics of the songs he wrote are simplistic, with an overabundance of his own ego thrown in. His favorite song, or “Song of Self” as he calls it, had first primer lines like “The singer sings his song/Good it was.” The self-commentary fell short–good it was not.

    In another ego-feeding moment, he pointed out that with the raise of his hand he could stop the music. After asking that all flash cameras go off at once and later exercising his raised-hand control over the decibel level, he bemusedly sighed, “Power!”

    Most of his songs, like Sweet Caroline, Kentucky Woman and She Got the Way to Move Me, rely heavily on hard rhythm guitar and drum lines with Diamond’s guitar strumming and stage presence rated as average.

    His backup band included Randy Sterling, bass; Eddie Rubin, drums and Jefferson Kewley, guitar. Diamond’s best tune is “Brother Love’s Salvation Show,” but his revival-tent preacher’s rap in the middle proved unnaturally affected.

    Opening the program was comic Sandy Baron, who earned quite a few laughs and kept a smooth-paced rapport with audience through his quick comebacks and improvisations.



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