St. Paul, Minnesota - Xcel Energy Center at RiverCentre

Oct 26, 2001

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  1. Paul
    Setlist
    Sat Oct 27 10:15:22 2001

    The setlist appears to be the same as Moline, but if I am wrong, please correct me. I was to busy Jammin’ to remember the exact order or if anything was different.

    SET LIST — St. Paul, 10/26

    America
    Mission of Love
    Solitary Man
    Cherry, Cherry
    Red, Red, Wine
    I’m a Believer
    Soolaimon
    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)
    Shilo
    He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
    I Am, I Said (walk-off)

    Cracklin’ Rosie
    Brother Love
    America (reprise)

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  2. Debra
    My Neil Experience – Copied from front page
    Sun Oct 28 21:19:40 2001

    This is my first posting, although I’ve been reading for a couple of months and been a fan for 25 years. The last time I reviewed a Neil Diamond concert was in 1982 when I used my privilege as editor of the high school newspaper to write a lengthy review of a Chicago Stadium concert (that very few students chose to read I’m sure). I have been enjoying the other reviews so much, it just seemed like the right thing to share some of my thoughts as well. Here they are….

    As I was driving home from work on Friday, listening to Neil, I felt as light as a feather. I’d been that way all day, buoyed by anticipation and just plain happiness. As I approached my St. Paul home (just two blocks from the arena) it struck me that thousands of other fans were also in their cars, listening to Neil, and heading for St. Paul. Suddenly I felt this amazing connection to all these people whose names I did not even know. I felt part of something much bigger than myself and it felt great. I wasn’t even annoyed by the pre-event traffic that makes my drive home take twice as long – afterall these were fellow Diamondheads, not the usual hockey fans (nothing against hockey, but…). I enjoyed immensely the thought that my neighborhood was being overrun with other people who shared a great love with me.

    I left for the arena early and alone. I had splurged on e-bay for one good seat for Friday night. My mom and I had tickets half way to the moon for Saturday night. I wanted to get there early to make sure I could get choice souvenirs, having heard about things running out on this board. It was hard to choose, but I left the booth with a hooded Brooklyn Roads sweatshirt, a “Got Neil?” nightshirt, a DiamondGirl shirt for my five-year-old daughter and a denim shirt for my mom. And of course a program. I wanted to buy one of everything. It took incredible will power to restrain myself.

    I shoved my Neil goods into the bag I had brought with (a great tip I got from this board) and wandered around for awhile, looking at the stage from all different angles and looking for IAIS name tags (I didn’t see any). Eventually I wound up in my seat. It was in the first section to the left of the stage about twenty rows up. A good seat, a great one with binoculars. I sat down and poured over the program three or four times, marveling at the beautiful pictures of a beautiful man. The program is a perfect combination of fabulous photographs and personal sentiments. A couple of the photographs literally take my breath away (blue jeans and blue shirt on page 30 and the what I term “sexy at 35 and even sexier at 60” combination of photos on pages 8-9. Oh my, I could lose myself in those eyes for a lifetime or two. Well worth three times the $15 just for those photos!

    I looked out over the assembling crowd and hoped they would all receive Neil as enthusiastically as I. I wanted Neil to remember St. Paul fondly as that city with the loudest, most involved crowd on the whole tour. I was ready to do my part. I surveyed the front row and identified “the girl.” It wasn’t hard, she appeared to be the only one fitting the “profile.” Then I set to making some friends of my neighbors, sharing my program (and later my binoculars) all around and letting them know that I intended to be rocking on my feet and singing throughout EVERY fast song. I wasn’t too sure about our section, but they were up for all the important stuff and I had great neighbors to my right — two older women who became fans later in life when going through divorces. They were very impressed with all the info I’ve picked up here. Anyway, they were light years better than the half way to the rafters crowd I was with on Saturday night. Half of them didn’t stand until the very end of America and wouldn’t even get up until the second repeat of Sweet Caroline — ughhh. I found myself actually yelling “Get Up!” At least there wasn’t anyone behind me, since they were young surface fans who spent much of the concert out of their seats eating and drinking in the lobby area above. So, my mom and I and one woman next to us danced and sang our hearts out, even if we were the only ones in the entire section. I just hope Neil couldn’t see our pathetic section way up there and it seemed like most of the rest of the place was appropriately appreciative.

    On Friday night, Neil’s voice started out hoarse and it cracked quite a bit on the in between song chatter at the beginning. But it just kept getting better as the night wore on. And it was great for the really important stuff like “Yes I Will/Lady Magdalene” and “I Am…I Said.” I had heard that the acoustics were great/state of the art at the two-year-old arena. And they were. Especially on the second night – hey there has to be something good about sitting that far away and high up! I’m not sure if they adjusted things between the two nights or the side of the stage sound is a little off, but on Saturday night I thought the sound was simply amazing — NO distortion at all, a perfect blend of instruments and voice, just the right volume. It sounded just like listening to a CD on a really great stereo only it was 10 times better because this was a one of a kind performance by our man in person. I was awed. Neil’s voice was also FLAWLESS on Saturday. Better than I have ever heard in concert or even on a CD. — really!

    Friday I reserved the binoculars for the slow songs. With them I could see all his facial expressions clearly. Like he was 10 feet away. It was wonderful. But with the binoculars it felt just a little bit more like I was watching another Neil video instead of the real thing. And my heart was pounding so hard from singing and dancing that it was hard to hold them still. I got over this by Saturday night, when binoculars were an absolute necessity. It was really too bad that the better concert was on Saturday. It seemed that way even from the cheap seats (well, not really any cheaper than the floor seats). Someone said that he seemed more tired on Friday. Perhaps that was because he was on one of our local news shows live at 7:00 a.m. that morning. Has he done this sort of thing in other cities, haven’t heard mention of it? Unfortunately I missed the TV show. A friend said he looked great and just talked about how much he likes the Twin Cities.

    I was really looking forward to “the girl” part of the show. He did indeed pick the girl I thought he would – long blond hair, 30’s I think. He was singing on the left side of the stage so I had a great view. It was quite comical actually, far from the sensual, vicariously erotic experience I was expecting and hoping for from the descriptions. She started to go to him early in the song before he knelt down and then went back to her seat. When he knelt down she came up again. She just kept jumping up and down and waving at the audience, motioning for someone to take a picture. When she settled down enough to look at Neil, she got so embarrassed she kept putting her head down on her arms on the stage. She hardly stood still long enough for Neil to stroke her face. Finally at the very end, she reached up and hugged him and he kissed her. He rolled over on his back and splayed his arms and legs out to a comic drumbeat. Everyone laughed and then the usual cigarette was requested. Although not exactly what I was expecting, it was great fun nonetheless. On Saturday, three women were sitting together. I don’t think they could decide which one he wanted, first one went forward, then another, then they both went together, after a minute the third friend joined them. What a great thing for friends to share! I could just imagine them at some bar after the concert laughing, comparing their kisses and shaking their heads over their luck.

    Although it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite part of the show (it was all so phenomenal), I really loved the “Yes I Will/Lady Magdalene” segment. Many people have joked about being the piano stool, but I wouldn’t have minded being the piano. He walked back and forth and caressed it so lovingly, talking about how it was a song waiting to happen. He talked longingly about how he never thought he would have a piano or that he would someday write a song on one. And when he finally began to play his fingers kissed the keys so gently..”play me” the keys seemed to be saying and he sure did. While I couldn’t see his facial expressions because his back was to me, I had a great view of the keyboard from above and his hands as he played.

    Another special moment for me was at the end of “Captain Sunshine,” as he looked up to the sky with such genuine feeling. It seemed like he could really see Vince there. He had this smile on his face that said “it’s great to see you again.” It reminded me of the way he looks at Chet Atkins in the Tennessee Moon video – a look that says I’m so fortunate to know you.

    On Saturday, after he and Linda sang “Flowers,” he talked about what a tough job he had singing songs and kissing girls like Linda (the same as Friday), but then he walked by the band and said “But I have to be careful, because her husband is in the band.” Linda leapt up from her stool and pointed with both hands at Reinie excitedly. It was cute, she seemed so proud that he was being acknowledged as her husband.

    Didn’t notice it posted yet, so for those of you who care about who wore what … Friday Neil was in white/light grey and the horns and strings wore autumn colors. Saturday Neil wore dark bluegrey and the horns/strings wore dark primaries.

    During “Brother Love” on Friday, I noticed that there was a spotlight behind Neil that cast a huge shadow of his outstretched arm and hand on the ceiling of the arena. I don’t know if that was intentional, but it was really cool. I stretched my hand in the direction of the ceiling and sang along for all I was worth.

    As I walked home from the show both nights, I passed rows of cars lined up to head out for home. In just about every car I could hear one Neil song or other playing inside. Snippets of many songs hit me one by one like a Diamond kaleidoscope. It was a neat way to end a perfect Neil weekend.

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  3. Jody
    My thoughts
    Tue Oct 30 21:57:41 2001

    My husband and I were able to get great seats at the last minute to attend the Friday night show. We were excited with anticipation after reading all the other reviews of the concerts prior to this one. The concert was everything we imagined and more.

    I have been to over a dozen ND concerts and my husband has been to 30+. At first I wasn’t sure I would like the end stage set up but now I can’t see it any other way. Neil was in perfect form . . . looked great and sounded great! I loved the addition of the strings and horns.

    This was the first time I have ever heard “Yes I Will,” “Lady Magdelane,” “Captain Sunshine,” “Starflight,” and “He Ain’t Heavy . . .” in concert or by recording. My husband has most of the CD’s but didn’t particularly have these. After reading all the messages about including these songs in this concert tour, I am so glad they were included. They are amazing songs. I especially liked the combination of “Yes I Will” and “Lady Magdelane” done on the piano.

    We also met some wonderful people from the IAIS board especially Linda P., Kathy, and Jean. I am so glad to finally met you. I know this was the last concert of this leg of the tour for some of you but this was the beginning for Jim and me. I’m glad we were able to share some stories and hope our paths cross again soon.

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  4. Review from the St. Paul Pioneer Press
    Mon Oct 29 08:25:25 2001

    ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS

    Published: Saturday, October 27, 2001

    Diamond paints town red, white and blue
    BY JIM WALSH Pop Music Critic

    Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan have a lot in common. For the moment, anyway.
    Both singers gave concerts at the Xcel Energy Center this week — Dylan Thursday; Diamond Friday and tonight. Both singer’s surnames start with the big “D,” both are 60-year-old icons of American pop, and both seized their time in the spotlight to say a little something about the world we live in.

    But while Dylan sheathed his commentary in poetry, ambiguity, and a craggy voice left to its own devices and up to interpretation, Diamond was hit-’em-over-the-head-and-heart clear, and about as subtle as a rocket’s red glare on the Fourth of July.

    The first thing concertgoers saw upon entering the arena Friday night was a massive American flag-slash-curtain. The stars and stripes matched the concession stand’s most popular item, a T-shirt featuring a silhouette of a fist-thrusting Diamond in front of Old Glory. All of which is why it was hardly a surprise that the Brooklyn, N.Y., native opened the show with his immigration anthem “America.”

    When Diamond sang, “Stand up for America,” the crowd followed his command to the T, and when three more gigantic American flags unfurled from the rafters, much fist-pumping ensued.

    “If, as they say, music has the power to heal,” said Diamond before a dramatic turn on “Solitary Man,” “then let the healing begin.”

    He introduced “I Believe In Happy Endings” by saying, “It’s so very important to maintain our sense of optimism.” He introduced “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by saying, “I think it’s important that we do a song in recognition of our American heroes,” and ended it by imploring the throng to, “God bless our heroes!” Indeed, at times, it seemed as if Diamond was on a one-man mission to single-handedly make sure that America rises.

    Timeliness aside, much of the night was typical Diamond fare, which means bombast, fastballs, sweetness, showmanship, and schmaltz. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “I Am, I Said,” “Holly Holy,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” and “Cherry Cherry” were crowd-pleasing delights. “Red Wine,” “Soolaimon” “I’m A Believer,” and “I Haven’t Played This Song In Years,” were critic-pummeling drainers.

    Diamond has always been something of a cross between a folk music dabbler and a Rat Pack wannabe, and his two-hour-and-20-minute show featured elements of both, like Bob Roberts doing Vegas. And unlike Dylan, who inspires with the twitch of an earlobe, Diamond was pretty spry for an old guy, whether he was playing his acoustic guitar, playing piano, playing off his big band, or play-seducing a grown woman from the audience who was thrown into girlhood during, “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.”

    The highlight of the night came last, with Diamond’s indestructible “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” which got, and kept, the crowd on its feet, many members of which will undoubtedly pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes back to the big VFW Hall on Kellogg Boulevard tonight.

    Pop music critic Jim Walsh can be reached at jwalsh@pioneerpress.com or (651) 228-5553.

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  5. Sue
    St. Paul – 2nd Night……
    Sun Oct 28 06:27:00 2001

    Originally posted on Sun Oct 28 00:33:01 2001

    Well, I’m home and I’m exhausted, but it was GREAT!!!! First of all I met Jean from Des Moines going in and then saw her again going out. They were sitting one section over from me but much further down than I was and that whole area looked like they were having a blast! At times I wished I could have spent more time with them, but maybe another time 🙂

    I thought the concert was excellent — beyond words really after just getting home and still flying high from it all. I thought his voice was EXCELLENT and his performance was very relaxed. Sure he did what everyone expected and if that makes him “schamltzy” or whatever, so be it — no one seemed at all disappointed.

    I had an elderly lady sitting next to me and when I first fell into my seat, I said I was warning her that I liked to get up and move and holler and stuff. She said so did she!!! She and I seemed to get excited and loved the same songs — even from the TCO CD — we both said after the movie song that we appreciated it better now than just listening to it on the CD as it wasn’t either of our favorites. Sure made it nice to have someone who could understand my giddiness! In front of us was a dad and mom with two young boys (twins???) (10 or 11????) and I asked the dad if the boys knew who Neil Diamond was or his music. He said they just didn’t want to leave them home with a sitter so they really don’t know what to expect. At first mom and dad seemed a little on edge with each other and I figured dad wasn’t a real willing participant, but once the concert started that man was up moving, clapping and hollering just like me!!!!!

    There were some slow times during the show but still for a 60 year old, you certainly could fool me — the man didn’t seem to have slowed down or aged as far as I was concerned, but for people who didn’t know the things I knew (from this board — thank you) about the set or the tribute to Vince or whatever, they might have thought it slowed down a bit, but I thought it all was very well done and smoothly put together.

    And yes he had three girls come up from the audience at Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon. You could tell they were totally surprised and delighted — it was fun and no one seemed at all offended by it.

    Sooooooooooooooo — who did that awful reviewer see last night???? I saw someone (Father Jon) say Friday’s show wasn’t as good as tonight’s, but still I can’t imagine it was as bad as that nasty reviewer made it out to be. What a shame — certainly a shame for our Twin Cities area.

    And someone said he’s going to be in Vegas on NY Eve??? I’m going there tomorrow and I know I can’t go again in two months. I was hoping if he booked Vegas, he would do it in April…..maybe they were wrong, and selfish woman that I can be, I hope so!!!

    Well off to bed I go and if I’m lucky I will get 3 hours of sleep before I have to get up for an early morning flight to Vegas. Before I go though I have to say THANK YOU to all you wonderful people on this board who have shared so much over the weeks I’ve been reading messages here and for helping me get so excited I could hardly stand myself (although I would have been excited on my own). I feel so close to so many here and I hope I don’t offend anyone when I come out spewing and angry — I enjoy my time here immensely and I look forward to many more encounters here. You people are WONDERFUL!!!! God Bless all of you, God Bless Neil Diamond and the Band and, of course, God Bless America.

    Sue

    P. S. Not bad for someone who said she was “beyond words” early on on this review…..once I got going I got carried away with words….Goodnight all.

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  6. JS
    Review
    Sun Oct 28 00:16:36 2001

    The setlist remains unchanged. I disagreed with the reviewer from the Startribune about the first concert although by comparison last night was stiff.

    Apparently the 17000+ fans that filled this sold out stadium did not read that review. They somehow had the notion that Neil is still cool.

    From the first note of America through Mission of Love this crowd was on their feet, they were set to have a great time. From where I was sitting I was one of the older ones in my section and these people liked to sing along. They were up and down alot throughout the show.

    Neil’s voice was great tonight and he seemed more relaxed than last night. I of course prefer the front view because it allows you to take in more of the show, including the fine moves from Linda (how old is she?).

    My mom had an interesting emotional reaction to YATBPOM and HPTSIY which gave me a new appreciation for These songs. At the same time, she sadi to me at one point, “This is what they mean by ‘older is better'”.

    There were some folks in costume, like hippies way up in the rafters, rocking out during the whole concert. I also spied three guys in “Silvermanesque” Neil suits.

    This is a show worth seeing if your town is still on the tour schedule, don’t miss it.

    I loved the experience of Yes I will, and Lady M in concert.

    If I were to look for something to be picky about I would have to admit that the talking through the first past of Beautiful Noise bugged me. Also, while the chat was much tighter tonight and seemed more genuine I believe he could shorten the intro to At the Movies and the show would be better for it. I also think that nothing would be lost if he would lose the GYBAWS make-out session. With a crowd like the one present tonight, such gimmicks come across simply as gimmicks.

    Very solid performance from the entertainer I most enjoy. This performance delivered everything promised for the past month on this board (a statement I would not have made about last night’s show). Now, I am pumped about Fargo(that sentence looks strange). I think I could take another one like tonight pretty easily.

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