Milwaukee, Wisconsin - US Cellular Arena

Nov 14, 2001

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  1. Nan S.
    belated thoughts after Milwaukee
    Sun Nov 18 17:10:13 2001

    I can’t add much to what the others have said about the Wednesday Milwaukee show – it was stupendous!! I saw this woman jump up after Yes, I Will/Lady Mag with her hands in the air, and now I know that was Ginny.

    I am SO grateful for the ticket exchange here – that’s how I was able to find a ticket when I had a conflict come up on Thursday. A big thank-you to the woman who trustingly mailed me the ticket and waited for my check in return.

    At the hotel after the show, I met Val, and then we met the women who were the kissees that night. They are long-time devoted fans, and it was the birthday of one of them. That was a birthday present she’ll not soon forget! We hooked up with two other fans, and sat in the bar talking Neil until they threw us out. I was bleary-eyed in class the next day, yawning through my evening commitment, and still tired for my two exams on Friday. And I paid for two tickets and only got to see one show. But it was all worth it.

    The crowd, the crowd, the crowd! My heavens – what is it about Milwaukee? All the beer? Whatever causes it, it sure makes for a memorable night. I can’t figure out why one city’s crowd is different from another city’s crowd, and I for sure can’t figure out why one night in one city is different from the other night in the same city. But if I could only do one night in Milwaukee, it sounds like I got the right night.

    You know, I sing so badly that I was once turned down by my church choir – and they are usually desperate. But I still like to sing – I just can’t do it where anyone can hear me, which leaves me singing in my car. And at Neil’s shows. I can let loose and sing my heart out, and no one can hear me over the roar of thousands of other fans. He is absolutely right when he says music heals – and that means participating as well as listening.

    I took to watching his face through my semi-contraband binoculars during the applause after many songs, and I sensed such GENUINE gratitude from him for our response. Not that I can point to any other performer I’ve seen who didn’t appreciate his or her audience (except maybe Janis Joplin, but she was too drunk/stoned to know she had an audience that night – but that’s another story), but there was something particularly moving about Neil’s response to the applause. Humble, I’d say, like he still can’t believe this is happening to him.

    I was just looking over the marvelous tour book, and something caught my attention – besides the mega-drool photos, that is. It’s the quote “I have to admit that I still YEARN for that number one record that’s heard every hour or so on the radio. One that the whole world falls in love with.” It struck me for two reasons – first, it seems a touching, vulnerable thing for him to say publicly, given that he isn’t likely to have that number one hit again. Secondly, because it tells me that he is still driven by what drove him when he was a teenager. Nothing of any importance drove me when I was a teenager, and I’m not even sure what drives me now, and I admire and envy him for having a life-long passion for his work. And I thank him from the bottom of my heart for sharing that passion with us.

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  2. Ginny G.
    This show was MAGNIFICENT!
    Fri Nov 16 18:50:35 2001

    Okay, I’ll never do this well if I wait any longer, so I’m “reposting” what I posted the night of the concert, Wed., Nov. 14, in Milwaukee:

    I’m still floating, and I can’t give a well thought out review right now, but tonight’s was the best concert I’ve ever seen in my whole life! Unbelievable. The crowd was pumped, Neil was pumped, it was a regular love fest. Just spectacular. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe he did four encores of “Sweet Caroline.” Has that ever been done before?

    Oh, if everyone in the world could watch Neil perform, I think all the hate in the world would disolve…. I know I’m rambling, but I swear he means it when he says he’s “on a mission of love.” When he did “Brother Love” and “He Ain’t Heavy,” it was like he was really trying to change the world.

    With “Yes, I Will/Lady Magdalene,” “I Am.. I Said,” “Shilo,” “I Haven’t Played This Song in Years,” “Captain Sunshine,” and “If You Know What I Mean,” he poured his heart out. It seemed he gave his heart and soul, as always, and maybe even a little more than usual it seemed to me.

    The audience was wonderful, too. Extremely responsive from the very beginning. Neil was funny, talkative, I think a bit more than in Chicago.

    Three young ladies went up for “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.” They seemed very shy but thrilled. One returned to her seat and Neil motioned her back up there. I think he really made their night, and it was done very sweetly and tenderly.

    The crowd seemed to really respond to “I Believe in Happy Endings,” which is unusual for a new song. Everyone yelled and cheered when he talked about “Saving Silverman,” and he said, “Oh, my gosh, I think everyone who saw that movie must be in this arena tonight.” He was really funny, sweet, sincere. Just awesome.

    Well, I could just ramble all night here. Even all the staff at the auditorium were raving about the show.

    P.S. You’ll never guess which person from this board stood up and screamed “thank you” after “Yes, I Will/Lady Mag.”
    : )

    The crowd seemed to really respond to “I Believe in Happy Endings,” which is unusual for a new song. Everyone yelled and cheered when he talked about “Saving Silverman,” and he said, “Oh, my gosh, I think everyone who saw that movie must be in this arena tonight.” He was really funny, sweet, sincere. Just awesome.

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  3. Lori
    Nov. 14th concert
    Fri Nov 16 00:04:45 2001

    I drove all the way from Dodgeville, Wisconsin for this one and it was absolutely fabulous! For a 60 year old guy, he sounded better than ever, looked great and can he move! Yes, there were a lot of songs he didn’t sing, but the ones he did were fantastic. I’ve been humming and singing them all day long. I ordered the tickets after seeing him on “Live by Request”. He was so great on that show, I just couldn’t pass it up. I didn’t care that I didn’t get home until 1:15 a.m. It was so worth it!!

    Lori in Dodgeville

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  4. Wisconsin Guy
    Milwaukee Concert
    Thu Nov 15 20:00:38 2001

    originally posted on Thu Nov 15 17:19:31 2001

    I just needed to share my thoughts on last nights concert. This was my fifth concert of Neils, and yes, I know many have seen him more, but, I feel that I have a pretty good handle on his concerts. This was buy far the best concert yet. His voice was magnificant, clear as a bell. I brought my sister with me, this was her first neil concert. She said she was amazed at how he sounded just like on the cd’s.

    He had so much energy, and gave the crowd of about 14000, it’s money’s worth. I have read the reviews on past concerts during this tour, and have read where when he does Sweet Caroline, he does 3 encores of it. Well last night, he did 4 encores of it. It was wonderfull!!!

    I won’t go into every song, loved them all, and really loved the new ones from TCO. Captain Sunshine, was fantastic. I think the crowd was standing throughout the concert. It was buy far, the most energetic crowd I have seen yet.

    Well, as you can tell, one day later, I am still on a Neil high. But, I seem to always be on a Neil high….

    Thank you for the message board, so I and we all can share out experiances.

    Bill in Wisconsin

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  5. tomz
    11/14/01 Review
    Thu Nov 15 18:59:22 2001

    Please for give me for the way I have written this .Just writing down my remembrances so some of this will be out of order.
    It has been 5 years since the last time I saw Neil in concert. It was worth the wait!!!!!!.
    In the past 25 years I have only seen Neil live a half dozen times.I would rate this show #2 only behind my first Neil show in 1976.His voice sounded great and he seemed to really enjoy himself throughout the show.Very talkative and the audience was fantastic Four of us went to the concert.Besides myself,my daughter,my sister and her daughter went..A wide range of ages did we represented.Teens,30 something,40 something,50 something.First Neil concert for the three of them.
    Some of the words used by them after the show: WOW!!
    Awesome!!
    Unbelievable!!
    Man can he rock!!

    Our seats were in section 104 row 2.I never been to the US Cellular Arena and by looking at the seating chart figured the seats were not to bad .Left side of stage and I thought fist level up.Well found out they were basically floor seats.We were one row up from the floor.And close too,Our seats were basically in row 9.
    I did see some people walking around with Vince ribbons.Alot with Neil shirts on too.

    Neil opened the show about 15 minutes late. There was plenty of souvenirs to buy also.
    The crowd went wild when the HUGE USA flag raised revealing the band and Neil silhouetted in black.
    The song list was same as the other shows .
    Some highlights from the show:
    The crowd was unbelievable.Very into the show. Neil acknowledging certain areas of the crowd,It seemed to be that he really like the left upper section ,looked and pointed to that side quite a bit.
    Neil said it was great to be back in Milwaukee. In his words :
    ” Wisconsin:Home of great football,beautiful women and Harley Davidson Motorcycles!!!”
    A big roar came over when he said that.
    He played guitar on Solitary Man,Cheery Cherry and I believe Red Red Wine. Red Red Wine started out as the original then merged into the Reggae version.I do not particularly like the Neil’s Reggae version of this when I heard it in concert before but this version I could listen to anytime.
    From my vantage point it seemed like 3 women were serenaded during Girl,You’ll Be A Woman Soon.The person in front of me said she knew one of them.I can’t remember what she said her name was but it was the one who was celebrating her birthday.
    After the “kisses” Neil rolled on his back and said: “Does anyone have a cigarette.”
    He also said something like He never done that with 3 ladies before.
    During Mission of Love I noticed a group on the floor raising signs “L” ,”O”, “V”, “E”.
    He mentioned before he sang “At The Movies” the process in making of movie scenes.
    Me and my daughter yelled out “We belive in Neil Diamond” before and after Neil sang I Believe In Happy Endings”
    Sweet Caroline was unbelievable.The crowd was really into it and .He did 3 or was it 4 repeats of the chorus.Everyone was standing and they refused to sit down and Neil walked to Tom and asked “Are they still standing?” And then said something like well we gotta sing it again.After that repeat we all were still standing and he said OK We’ll sing it one more ti but like I want to and mentioned that we had to sing the “Whoa Whoa Whoa’s” and “SO Good SO Good SO Good” After he sang we still were standing and then he said “I can stand here longer than you” and stood there for a about 15 seconds or so and then said Ok one more time and after that they went into the next song.
    “Starflight” was great to hear.With the highlighting of each band members and then Neil joining them at the ending singing the song.
    Julia’s voice was awesome during “Soolaimm”
    Neil’s tribute to Vince, “Captain Sunshine ” was very moving.Talked about how Vince was a very special person and hoped that some of Vince has rubbed off on each of them,
    “He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother” the tribute to all our heroes who are fighting for our freedom was also very moving.This was very well received by the audience.
    He seemed to me to sing each song with a new meaning Hard to explain it but you could almost tell that this was very special to Neil.
    I sat in awe as I saw the piano rise and then Neil talked about how when he was young he used to make deliveries to rich people and sneak looks in to their houses and saw their beautiful shining pianos.He sat down and paused for a moment and then began playing Yes I Will.Then went into Lady Magdelene and finished with Yes I Will.It was unbelievable. Well worth the price of the concert ticket.
    Neil sat on a stool while singing I Am…I Said. A loud yell from some of the audience when he sang “New York City born and raised”
    I did see some ladies in the front row holding up a banner. Lots of flags waving during America and He Ain’t Heavy.
    It was neat watching the band during the songs The string ladies actions during Cherry Cherry were cute. Linda and Julia were doing some sort of hand thing like Patty Cake during one song.
    Linda look great and Julie was something else in her outfit. The strings and horns are a great addition to the band.
    I know I left some things out but you need to experience this event for yourself.
    You will not be disappointed.

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  6. linda-milw
    Milwaukee First Show
    Thu Nov 15 00:48:15 2001

    This was the fourth show of this tour for me and I think it has been the BEST. The crowd was alive, and it was a hot one in there literally. Neil was sweating up a storm, but so I was I with just my t-shirt on. A mild November here so far!! The set hasn’t change and I hope the crowd is as alive tomorrow night as they were tonight!!

    Milwaukee LOVES Neil!!

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  7. MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL REVIEW
    Thu Nov 15 07:04:03 2001

    ON WISCONSIN : LIVE : MUSIC & NIGHT LIFE : E-MAIL | PRINT THIS STORY

    Decades of Diamond
    Singer heats up November night with old, new songs
    By DAVE TIANEN
    of the Journal Sentinel staff
    Last Updated: Nov. 15, 2001
    Review
    Neil Diamond

    Photo/Michael Sears
    Neil Diamond performs Wednesday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena.

    If You Go

    Who: Neil Diamond
    When: 8 p.m. Thursday
    Where: U.S. Cellular Arena, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
    Tickets: Limited tickets remain at $37.50 and $57.50; call (414) 276-4545

    Related Coverage

    Commentary: Singing isn’t solitary talent of star
    Critical opinion: Praise for Diamond’s work

    “Hot August Night,” which documents an electrifying 1972 concert at the Greek Theater, is easily Neil Diamond’s best album.

    Wednesday night was a mild November night in Milwaukee, and the Neil Diamond who appeared for the first of two sold-out shows at the U.S. Cellular Arena is now himself in a very different season of his life and career. At 60, he hasn’t lost touch with the glories of his youth like “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Solitary Man” and “Shilo.” But over the years, those great tunes have been augmented and to some measure supplanted by several decades of music that is slower, more introspective, more sentimental and, frankly, usually less compelling.

    There were, of course, many thousands of middle-aged ladies at the Arena on Wednesday night who wouldn’t agree with any of that.

    Wednesday’s show started very well. As one might have expected, Diamond opened with “Coming to America” and used it as a rousing and lavishly produced statement of patriotism and community. He then shifted into a new song, “Mission of Love,” which actually has a little more R&B snap in concert than it does on the “Three Chord Opera” album. The addition of horn riffs from a four-piece brass section then gave “Solitary Man” a fresh coat of moodiness.

    The real back-to-back delights were “Red Red Wine” and “I’m a Believer” in which Diamond decided to steal back a trick from the people who had stolen one from him. After opening “Red Red Wine” in its original style, Diamond then shifted into the joyous reggae arrangement made famous by UB40. Next, his big horn rendition of “I’m a Believer” acknowledged the celebratory revival that oldie has received recently at the hands of Smash Mouth.

    Diamond kept the hot streak going with an unexpected revisiting of “Soolaimon” from “African Trilogy II.” One of the areas where Diamond probably doesn’t get proper credit is his world music of the early ’70s, a small but diverse body of work that anticipated “Graceland” by a decade and a half.

    After that, the show lost some momentum. There was the minor hit “The Last Thing on My Mind,” and the title tune from “Beautiful Noise” followed by a string of new songs: “I Haven’t Played This Song in Years,” “You Are the Best Part of Me” and “At the Movies.” The new songs don’t come close to the best work of his classic years or, for that matter, the best songs on “Tennessee Moon.”

    To his credit, Diamond hasn’t made himself a slave to the hits. There was no “Kentucky Woman,” no “Song Sung Blue,” no “Play Me.” There was a powerful and unexpected revival of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” done as a tribute to “real heroes” like our firefighters and military personnel.

    “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” showed up possibly because of its second lease on life from “Pulp Fiction.” Even when it was new that tune reeked of adolescent soap opera, and now the lyrics no longer fit the singer or his audience. But Diamond finessed that one by turning it into a joke, lying prone on the edge of the stage while three 40-something girls from the audience showered their affections upon him.

    Neil and I are probably never going to agree on where his set list should go, but he went out in rousing fashion, closing the show with one more big tent revival of “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” That’s as good a Southern gospel rave-up as you could ever ask a New York Jewish boy to write.

    Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 15, 2001.

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  8. Val from DC
    Awesome
    Fri Nov 16 17:08:49 2001

    Hey everyone-no other reviews posted yet? Guess you are all still “on the road to Dayton” ?? Or still gathering your thoughts. Folks said the Wed night crowd was a lot livelier but Neil really seemed pumped and happy the whole night. That was good to see. Neil was in fine, fine voice as was Julia and especially Linda.

    I was a bus call newbiw (yes I confess) and uh didn’t understand “protocols” very well so I learned a few lessons-fast! LOL Especially touched by how nice Julia and Marilyn (cellist) were. Well, how nice everyone was and that includes all of you I met and hope to meet again
    >:8< (pathetic attempt at a froggie prince in a cheese hat ) Ya know, 6th show, really, really "heard" some of the lyrics for the first time this time. Very intense experience, the whole second half of the concert, cried alot. Learned alot. Bless Neil and bless you all for the power to heal and the strength to stand up in these troubled times. I got a lot of changes to make in my head and my heart and I have such deep appreciation for being able to start on that path now. Love Peace and rock n roll, Val

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  9. im only ten years old but i gotta say it was definitly the best show or concert i had ever seen.he played sweet caroline five times and i sang my lungs out every time. neil is the best singer of all time and that concert in millwaukee wisconsin was the best concert in all time .i may only be ten but truust me i am his biggest fan, my family practickly has neil hall fame.

    GGGGGOOOO NNNEEEIIILL DDDDIIIIAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMOOOOONNNDD

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