New York, New York - Madison Square Garden

Jul 24, 1986

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  1. Posted by neverenoughchaos 2004-04-01 00:00:19.0

    I found in an old notebook today, a list of songs that I wrote down in order from th3 4/26/86 concert at New Haven Coliseum, I dont know if the songs are all there, but here is what I wrote: Headed For The Future, I’m ALive, September Morn, Solitary Man, Cherry, Cherry, SweetCaroline, Red,Red, Wine, Beautiful Noise, Do You Know What I Mean?, Hello Again, America, Love On The Rocks, Forever In Blue Jeans, You DOnt Bring Me Flowers, Song Sung Blue.

    I also noted the 7/26/86 concert at MSG: September Morn, TTLFTNT, Cherry Cherry, Sweet Caroline, Red,Red Wine, Brooklyn Roads, Beautiful Noise, Do YOu Know What I Mean?, Hello Again, Love On The Rocks, America, Forever In Blue Jeans, You Dont Bring Me Flowers, Holly Holy, Stand Up For Love, Story Of My Life, Song Sung Blue, Cracklin ROsie, IAIS, Heartlight

    Just a kid thing to do, I was only 21 at the time. I thought you all might get a kick out of it!!



    ‘HISTORY begins,’ announces the poster advertising Neil Diamond’s current engagement at Madison Square Garden. Exactly what that statement means is anybody’s guess, but it evokes the kind of glitzy showmanship, accompanied by an aura of vague mysticism, that have made Mr. Diamond one of the country’s two or three biggest concert attractions among middle-aged suburban audiences.

    Both as a performer and as a songwriter, Mr. Diamond alternates between being a homey overgrown kid celebrating his humble Brooklyn origins and a fist-shaking conjurer of storms. At Thursday’s opening-night show, he strode onto the stage and launched into a propulsive, thundering rendition of ‘Heading for the Future,’ the title song from his newest album, and followed it up with the equally assertive ‘I’m Alive.’ ‘We want to make beautiful noises together,’ the singer announced, referring to the title song of his 1976 album, ‘Beautiful Noise.’

    The contradiction embodied in the concept of ‘beautiful noise’ is what makes Mr. Diamond’s music tick. His simple, guitar-based melodies are elementary in their craft but have an unstoppable catchiness along with stylistic echoes that include old-time folk sing-alongs, white gospel music, country ballads, early 60’s rock-and-roll and Jewish folk dances.

    Many of Mr. Diamond’s lyrics grope earnestly – and at times ungrammatically – toward the heavens. ‘Sing as a song in search of a voice that is silent, and the one God will make for your way,’ goes the lyric for Mr. Diamond’s ‘Be,’ from the soundtrack of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull.’ Lyrics like this can mean anything one wishes to read into them. Oratorically intoned by Mr. Diamond in his raw bass-baritone voice, however, they underscore a recurrent theme in his music: the expression of inarticulate longings for the sublime while hewing to the simplest of pop vocabularies, the desire to turn ‘noise’ into beauty.

    Mr. Diamond’s show included a nostalgic Brooklyn segment during which he accompanied himself on the acoustic guitar and played late 60’s hits such as ‘Cherry, Cherry,’ and a section of tunes from his movie ‘The Jazz Singer.’ The two-and-a-half-hour show gradually built in intensity to a sustained quasi-mystical climax that fused ‘I Am . . . I Said,’ ‘Skybird,’ ‘Be,’ ‘Soolaimon,’ ‘Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show’ and ‘Heartlight’ into something like a pop sermon with evangelical overtones.

    While the singer’s prizefighter mannerisms – his fist-shaking and growling, – stirred the crowd, the show’s most musically coherent moments were its lower-keyed ballad performances. In ‘Love on the Rocks’ ‘Hello, Again,’ and ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,’ the singer’s unforced vocal command was all that was needed to put over the songs.



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