Rockford, Illinois - MetroCentre

Oct 23, 2001

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  1. Maverick
    Set List — Moline, 10/24
    Thu Oct 25 10:29:44 2001

    The set list was exactly the same as it has been lately.

    What an incredible show! I’ll post my review later.

    SET LIST — Moline, 10/24

    Mission of Love
    Solitary Man
    Cherry, Cherry
    Red, Red, Wine
    I’m a Believer
    If You Know What I Mean
    Beautiful Noise
    Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
    I Haven’t Played This Song in Years
    You Are The Best Part of Me
    At the Movies
    I Believe in Happy Endings
    Forever In Blue Jeans
    Band Intro — Starflight
    Cptn. Sunshine
    Holly Holy
    Sweet Caroline (w/ 2 repeats)
    You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
    Yes I Will (at piano)
    Lady Mag (at piano)
    Yes I Will (at piano)
    He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
    I Am, I Said (walk-off)

    Cracklin’ Rosie
    Brother Love
    America (reprise)


  2. mj
    Rockford Rocked!!!!
    Tue Oct 23 23:49:41 2001

    Just got back home from Rockford show. What can I say. I have been reading these reviews since Sept. and the performance exceeded my wildest dreams! Same set list as others – new songs welcomed well by Rockford crowd. Most people on their feet alot and no one complaining. Neil wore the red shirt – so good, so good, so good! Gray pants – nice tush! Rae was videotaping off to the side of the stage. I was on end seat in 2nd row so could see her well. She is lovely – very, very thin, long straight hair. Neil blew a kiss her way while she was taping and I could see her smile. She certainly has been good for him! His voice was very strong, got a little raspy sounding for a while but came back strong. Yes I Will/Lady M was magnificent! Loved Starflight too. Linda wore green velvet. Was hoping to get picked for “Girl” but Neil went to the other side (his left) and actually 3 ladies got up – I don’t think that is what he intended. He knelt down then they all came forward and he sang to them, holding hands off and on. They did not do the big instumental part in the middle where he had been kissing the chosen one, he just kept singing and ended the song and gave each a little kiss on the cheek. So I wasn’t too jealous – and it was really sweet. He also paid a lot of attention to the many ladies in the crowd who were in wheelchairs and several other developmentally challeged women. Blew them lots of kisses and waved. He did make eye contact with me and smiled and those eyes…….I have never been this close and with the platforms that extend out from the stage, he was barely 8 feet away. I need to chill out now – yeah right! I need to get some sleep. It is starting to storm here but I have this wonderful evening to dream about. I also met Diane W. from Moline – she had her IAIS name tag on and a Vince ribbon. Have fun tomorrow in Moline Diane!


  3. Nan S.
    no longer a Neil virgin
    Wed Oct 24 00:23:58 2001

    My first Neil show – what can I say? I don’t have the perspective of 35 years of being a fan, but I can try to share some impressions from the perspective of a lost-and-found-again fan. First of all – he got the way to move me. And it was definitely done too soon.

    I went to this show by myself; my friends don’t know Neil Diamond from Neil Sedaka. But it’s hard to feel alone at a Neil show. Reachin’ out, touchin’ me, touchin’ you.

    There was magic in his voice. It’s a sound that I love.

    There was magic in his melodies and magic in his lyrics; for anything he didn’t write, he added his own magic. Sing it out, these songs of life.

    There was magic in his spirit; I now know why the words “love affair with the audience” are often used to describe his shows. From the heart of one to the heart of another.

    There was magic in his physical presence; he has an energy I lost when I was about 35. Strut your stuff, Neil.

    There was magic in his regular band; years of being together magnify all their talents. Their careers are a mission of love.

    There was magic in the new back-up musicians. Hopefully they are headed for the future with him.

    There was magic among his fans; something remarkable fuels this devotion. I’m a believer.

    He’s truly mesmerizing in concert. It would be easy to say he is a born performer. But I’ve read about those first, early appearances of his and how unimpressive they were. If it had been me reading those reviews, I would have hid in my songwriting office and never come out again. He may have been born with the raw musical talent, but the performing success must have come only with a lot of guts and hard work in the beginning. He didn’t look down and he went straight ahead to the very top.

    I had a terrific time. To hear LIVE that voice that has filled my living room and my car for three months was a thrill I’ll not soon forget. And what a treat to see him in a relatively small arena like Rockford’s Metro Centre. Binoculars were allowed, and with them I could see details and facial expressions, but even without them, I had a great view from section 103. I’ve been buried with homework and exams and papers, and really had no business going out on a school night. But music is good for the soul. So what if I’m unprepared and bleary-eyed in my early class tomorrow. I’ve got a smile a mile across my face.

    If there were any disappointments, it was that I didn’t think the applause for Yes, I Will/Lady Mag was properly appreciative. And that too many people around me used the segment with the TCO songs as an intermission. Am I right that the majority of the fans only want to hear the mega-hit oldies?

    But it was a magical night. I’m sure to see his eyes again – in Milwaukee.

    By the way, we got a bonus sing-along – Happy Birthday to his neice, Jennifer.

    OK, all of you who have seen dozens of shows – tell me this was one of the best and then I’ll feel less pain over having missed so much in the past.

    Nan S.
    Losing that other virginity didn’t have this much magic. If you know what I mean.


  4. Zia
    The concert was Wonderful!
    Wed Oct 24 07:58:24 2001

    Had an absolutely amazing time last night! This was my 4th Neil concert in the last 15 years or so…..I haven’t been disappointed yet! Noticed that his voice was a little raspy at times, but with all the singing he does, not unexpected. And he certainly was able to sing! We had front row seats in the 3rd section on the main floor….right behind the computer equipment setup. Could see VERY well! Went with my friend, my husband, my inlaws, my brother in law and my 2 kids (ages 6 and 9)! Needless to say, I have 2 new fans in my house! My daughter (the 6 year old) was boogie-ing with me when he sang I’m A Believer, her favorite song. We had people all around us smiling and watching! Thought seriously of taking her up by the stage, but hubs wouldn’t let me.
    MJ, sort of looked for you, but didn’t want to be going from seat to seat saying Are you MJ? LOL! Glad to see you had as great of a time as I did. Sure wish I had the time and money to hit a few of these other “local” shows..Maybe someday!
    To everyne else who still has the experience ahead of them…all I can say is…. ENJOY IT!


    Mon Oct 29 08:41:51 2001


    Neil Diamond is Rockford’s best friend

    Neil Diamond gave fans a dream concert Tuesday night at the MetroCentre in Rockford.

    He offered a bunch of extra choruses to “Sweet Caroline,” letting the near-capacity crowd revel in — and sing along with — the feel-good bonus.

    This 1984 inductee into the Songwriter Hall of Fame and 2000 recipient of its lifetime achievement award covered “I’m a Believer,” which he wrote for The Monkees, and “Red, Red Wine,” which he turned over to UB40.

    And for “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” the 61-year-old got down on his knees, beckoned three middle-aged women in the front row to approach the stage and lay down to serenade them. He kissed the starry-eyed swooners afterwards, rolled on his back and asked if anyone had a cigarette.

    Diamond performed more than two dozen songs for two hours, with a 15-member band and a couple of backup singers. There was neither intermission nor warm-up act. Sometimes he strummed a guitar; toward the end he took to a piano; occasionally he told an anecdote. But mostly he strutted and belted.

    He restricted himself to just a handful of numbers from his new CD, “Three Chord Opera.” Instead, the pop singer/songwriter — who has sold 115 million records over a 35-year career — ran through his vast catalog of Billboard hits, from the No. 1 “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” to the top 10 “Holly Holy” and “Cherry, Cherry.”

    These decisions also suggest why he ranked as the top solo touring act of the 1990s, according to Amusement Business.

    Diamond was the first rock star to headline Broadway (in 1972). The set for his Rockford gig included platforms, ramps and steps, all so he could engage the audience. The showman wore black slacks and a wine-colored shirt festooned with his trademark glass beads. Taking the stage at 8:25, he opened with his anthem “America.” Old Glory hung from the rafters. When he came to the line, “Stand up for America,” the few still seated in the crowd rose, at his urging. Three flags unfurled.

    Diamond periodically alluded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But mostly the entertainer put over his croaking croon, outsized grandeur and impassioned sincerity. So at one point he led the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for his niece, who apparently was in attendance. Later he sat on a stool for the introspective ballad “I Am … I Said” and with powerful clarity made its loneliness resonate, particularly the admission, “I am, I said, / to no one there, / and no one heard it at all, / not even the chair.”

    The band helped Diamond remain fresh after three decades and got in the spirit as much as the adoring fans. The horns in particular tootled in the crispness. And a fluid string section — four women in black evening gowns — bopped along when not playing.

    Diamond’s second and final encore was “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” He preached it from a platform. The faithful had long been converted.

    Peter Szatmary writes about arts and entertainment for the Rockford Register Star. You can argue with him by calling 987-1331 or writing to Rockford Register Star, 99 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61104. You also can email him at



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