Columbia, Maryland - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Jul 27, 1970

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

This article has 2 Comments

  1. By mid-1970, I had been a Neil Diamond fan for more than 2 1/2 years, and I wanted very much to see him in concert. But so far, he hadn’t come to the Washington, DC, area, where I lived at the time. On Sunday, May 24, I found a newspaper ad listing the summer concert schedule for the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, which is in between Washington and Baltimore. And in this schedule, I found what I was looking for – Neil Diamond was scheduled to appear on Monday night, July 27!

    My parents were also interested in going. They had seen Neil on T.V. and had heard some of his songs on the radio and coming from the stereo when I played them, and they liked some of what they had seen and heard. My father was from Brooklyn originally, so he may have identified with other Brooklyn boys like Neil. I wanted to see Neil badly enough to not mind going with my parents. So, my parents took my two younger sisters and me to the concert.

    The Merriweather Post Pavilion featured lawn and pavilion seating. We sat on the lawn, which, even though it was further from the stage, was a very nice place to spend a lovely summer evening with Neil Diamond up on stage. The opening act was a comedian named Sandy Baron. I probably forgot every joke he told as soon as it was over because I was so excited about seeing Neil. And after the intermission, Neil took the stage!

    This concert was very similar to the whole “Gold” album. He had the same three backup musicians – Eddie Rubin on drums, Randy Sterling (also known as Randy Ceirley, I learned 17 years later) on bass, and Carol Hunter on guitar. I was very impressed at seeing a woman playing guitar, since I had once hoped to be a rock guitarist (but quickly found I didn’t have the talent). I had also seen Neil on the Joey Bishop show the previous fall with this same group, and I believe the “Gold” album was done at the Troubadour around that time.

    There were, however, a few differences at the concert I saw:

    1. He actually began the concert with part of the song “Song for the Asking” which comes from a big album of that time period, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. This led right into “Lordy”, making it seem like just one song. I did not know “Lordy” at the time but soon found out what this song is when “Gold” came out shortly afterwards.

    2. He sang every song that was on the “Gold” album, and I believe in the same order, plus one more that didn’t make it onto “Gold” – “You’re So Sweet, Horseflies Keep Hanging ‘Round Your Face”. He also made the remark that precedes “And the Singer Sings His Song” about it being his favorite of all the songs he had ever written. (Wonder if it still is!) (But no remark about the concert being recorded, since it most likely was not.)

    3. Before singing “You’re So Sweet…”, he told a story about how his early influences came from country music out of Nashville. I would remember this story well in 1996, almost 26 years later, when “Tennessee Moon” came out.

    4. Before singing “Solitary Man”, he told a story about the first time he ever heard himself on the radio. He talked about what he always imagined would happen the first time he heard himself on the radio. Like maybe a pretty girl would come by and notice him. But when it really happened, he was at a stop light and looked down and saw a dog relieving itself (himself?) on the tire of the car. “Oh, well,” he concluded, “It could have been a pretty girl relieving herself!”

    After waiting all of this time to see Neil Diamond in concert, I was not disappointed. I think my parents even enjoyed it, too. I think of my father as having been so old at the time, but he was not yet 45. In contrast, I’ve seen Neil several times since my own 45th birthday.

    July 27, 1970, was the first in a string of dates that also includes October 15, 1972; August 10, 1976; December 3, 1978; September 12, 1982; August 8, 1984; April 11, 1986; February 6, 1989; August 10 and 11, 1992; November 3, 1993; September 27, 1996; November 10, 1998; December 12, 1999; October 17 and 18, 2001; March 16, 2002; and September 10, 2002, with more to follow, I hope. Plus a special mini-concert as part of the “Today Show” exactly 31 years later on July 27, 2001. It was the night of my first Neil Diamond, but that wasn’t my last concert!


  2. Legendary drummer Eddie Rubin

    Great to see the legendary Whisky a Go Go drummer Eddie Rubin mentioned in this post. Would be awesome though to hear more about his touring and collaboration with Diamond. Diamond and Rubin made some great recordings together! No other band member helped launched Diamonds career in the late 60s than Eddie Rubin when the two did the first recording of Sweet Caroline shortly after Diamond wrote the song in his hotel room.



Leave a Reply