Nashville, Tennessee - Gaylord Entertainment Center

Nov 20, 2001

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  1. Cliff
    The Best!!!
    Wed Nov 21 16:21:53 2001

    Perfect is the only word that I can describe it. It reminded me of the 70’s Neil where he returned to emoting the songs, taking his time and singing (instead of speaking or yelling)the lyrics so beautifully. “Play Me” was the addition to the regular setlist.
    Most of the audience was enthusiastic, some holding signs, one I remember: WE DROVE 1000 MILES TO SEE NEIL. Another group had shirts on spelling N-E-I-L on each person.
    A funny moment…There was a row of ladies and 2 young girls around 11-13 jumping from their seats in sequence, with arms outstretched as Neil came to their side of the stage singing “Play Me”.
    Of course there was the smooching scene during GYBAWS that got a response out of everyone, and big laughs when Neil rolled over on his back panting about needing a cigarette.
    In my opinion this was the best concert in many years and I’ve been to many. Neil’s speaking voice was a little hoarse at times but the singing was flawless. The highlight to me was “He Ain’t Heavy…” Neil got a standing ovation on that one. Fantastic version!
    My only complaint… it seemed over so quickly even though Neil performed a solid 2+ hours…just been concert starved for so long I guess.
    In closing, Thanks, Neil. I’m still a believer.

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  2. Donna
    Littlest Fan
    Thu Nov 22 17:42:04 2001

    I tried to do this before and don’t know it it will “take”, but here goes.
    My grandson loves to watch Neil’s videos and sing his songs. It all started when his other grandmother watched the A &E special, and Brenden watched it with her. Since that time, Brenden has watched the Tennessee Moon tape a MILLION times…he now can sing some of the words to some of the songs, but he has the hand movements, blowing kisses, and “chicken dance” down pat. 🙂 Did I mention that Brenden is 2 1/2? This is amazing to me.
    On Tuesday night, Brenden’s other grandmother and myself took him to see Neil at GEC in Nashville. Brenden was in HEAVEN! For the first hour, we doubt he blinked. 🙂 He was mezmerized by Neil, the lights, the flag…all of it. When Neil began to sing more familiar songs, Brenden started clapping, the arms, and dancing in our arms. (We are two TIRED Grandmas). To be short and sweet, Brenden had a BLAST. He loved seeing Neil. He is just now making sentences, but he made lots on Tuesday night. The next morning, according to his mother, he woke up, looking for his “Neil Book” and “Neil shirt”. If we were trying to cure him, the cure didn’t work. He’s hooked more than ever.
    Thanks to all the people who made this show possible. It was a terrific show…but folks…its amazing to watch it though the eyes of a two year old.

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  3. Text of Nashville review
    Sun Nov 25 08:36:58 2001

    Diamond gives the show his audience wants

    JOHN PARTIPILO / STAFF
    ”Song sung blue, everybody knows one” … They heard those songs and more when Neil Diamond brought his ”travelin’ salvation show” to the Gaylord Entertainment Center.
    By PETER COOPER
    Staff Writer

    Well, he’s still Neil Diamond.

    And for more than two hours Tuesday night in the Gaylord Entertainment Center, he put on a show filled with kitsch and class, sap and schmaltz, melodies and memories.

    He sang most of the big ones — from Cracklin’ Rosie to Play Me to I Am … I Said to Holly Holy to, yes, Forever in Blue Jeans — in a voice as emphatic and strong and full and emotional as ever.

    The arrangements, courtesy of music director Alan Lindgren, were well-designed, if synth-heavy, and a band that included sure-handed drummer Ron Tutt (Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, Gram Parsons, etc.) was efficient and tasteful.

    For his part, Diamond was everything he was supposed to be. He opened with America, amid flags and cheers and appropriately patriotic sentiment, and went on to play a set that included not only his hits but also a heaping helping of songs from his most recent album, Three Chord Opera.

    The newer material allowed Diamond, who has not had a hit single since 1986, to feel like something other than a human jukebox, though his fans reacted most uproariously to Cherry, Cherry, Solitary Man (recently recorded by Johnny Cash), You Don’t Bring Me Flowers and others of the old-school variety.

    Throughout, Diamond seemed to have a grip on just what it is that makes him an icon after 35 years of recordings.

    He sang with vigor and no small amount of camp, allowing Red, Red Wine to begin as a sad song and then morph into a reggae beat that approximated UB40’s version, and later rendering Sweet Caroline as a sing-along, roll-back-the-years party tune. The latter song began, ended, began again, ended, then righted itself for one more nostalgic chorus.

    For his part, Diamond employed that famously gruff, famously over-the-top vocal style, augmented with his three main moves: karate chops to emphasize the beat; ”stay right there,” open-palmed hand gestures; and — when he needed to up the ante — song-ending, double-armed victory gestures.

    It was all in fun, all carefully planned and all reasonably effective.

    If his show is inching close to Tom Jones-ish, Vegas-style show biz, Diamond makes up for it with memorable songs and a keen sense of exactly what it is his audience is looking for.

    He is, he sings. And, make no mistake, people still want to hear it.

    Peter Cooper writes about music for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 259-8220 or by e-mail at pcooper@tennessean.com.

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