San Diego, California - Cox Arena

Nov 29, 2001

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  1. Joni
    SD concert
    Fri Nov 30 02:35:06 2001

    WOW. This will be brief, but wonderful. It just couldn’t have been any better. Neil looked great, his voice was clear, deep and (as usual that – raspy…..that we all love and can’t wait to hear), the band didn’t over power him at all tonight…it was just perfect. It looked like Neil had on the blueish shirt that he has on in the picture playing the piano on the ND Homepage. It was warm in the Cox arena, or maybe it was just me. I was 10 rows back from the stage and up 10 rows from the floor. Fans were willing to stand when he persuaded. I was up on my feet alot, my 19 yr old daughter thought I was crazy. We all know that when we’re at a “Neil” concert…that it’s only ourself and Neil in the venue!!! And nobody else! So who cares!
    The gal he selected was blond and pretty from what I could see. She was in shock (i think)…hesitated to respond to his hand, she finally went. Then, she acted like she was gonna jump on the stage, and the said and motioned just kidding as the bouncers approached…Neil said ah leave her alone. He ran his hand throught her hair and she just stood there as he sang & kept her close to the stage, holding her hand. As the song ended, he nuzzled up to her kissed her and she didn’t respond from what I could see of her lips! OH… that chance she had!!! She backed away and left him the reaching out to her. It really looked like she didn’t know what to do! He rolled over “spread eagle” and you know the rest of the story…..It was great
    ok….my daughter needs to finish homework.

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  2. Alan from Big Bear
    Re: Reviews of Show
    Fri Nov 30 02:40:31 2001

    My wife, Robin is the real fan, (also pronounced “fanatic”) of Neil. However, I enjoy his music and have taken her to six of his concerts over the past 20 years. We went to San Diego this time because we were tired of the “nosebleed” seats we always seem to end up with at the Forum. There were 11,422 people at the Cox arena in San Diego to see the concert. It was nice to be less than 100 feet from Neil in the $50 seats.
    We last saw him on New Years eve in Las Vegas 1998-99. He seemed to lack energy then, and we felt it wasn’t one of his best concerts. He didn’t seem to be moving naturally and we speculated that his back might not have been healed after hurting it a couple of months earlier.
    This performance was not a disappointment. He started with Coming to America with a few word changes to acknowledge September 11. His energy level was up and his voice was back to its best form. (His voice was very rough in Vegas.) Although, when he started Red Red Wine–all that came out was an off key croak. He stopped and after poking fun at himself, made a better start.
    When he sang Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon, he zeroed in on an audience member in the front row. He motioned her up to the edge of the stage. First, he got down on his knees to sing directly to her. Pretty soon, he was laying on the stage singing to her. She made an attempt to jump on the stage, but it was about 5 feet high and she didn’t make it. I didn’t get a real good look from my angle, but it looked like she got a kiss at the end of the song.
    He acknowledged the loss of Vince Charles and dedicated the song Captain Sunshine to him. You could tell he felt the loss.
    He did one thing that I’ve never seen before. He played the piano! I didn’t recognize the song, and my wife didn’t either. Something different!
    His crew made good use of the computer controled lighting. There was a lot of well choreographed movement and color change. Neil doesn’t use a lot of bells and whistles in his show. The lighting sets the tone and the music is the show. He doesn’t really need more.
    The concert lasted about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Well worth seeing!

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  3. Kyle
    Think I posted a review…
    Sat Dec 1 15:26:33 2001

    But was dazed.
    I was third row….Neil’s mom? Where?

    As for security, some ‘security’ people are liars, and some are losers that abuse authority.
    If Neil didn’t want people singing and dancing, why do ‘Sweet Caroline’ 3 times or so?
    Was this why Neil had to make motions with his hands to get people off thier hands?

    I respect Neil’s desires, and if he REALLY feels this way, a simple message broadcast that Neil would signal to stand would have been fine. Something classy like “For consideration of all of my fans of all sizes and statures, seating is preffered.”

    I would be happy to oblige Neil, as I felt guilty about NOT standing up for him due to all of the people around me just kind of ‘sitting’.

    Anyway, PERFECT show…as usual.
    Thanks,Neil!

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  4. Susan in La Quinta, CA
    Neil’s Concert
    Sat Dec 1 10:06:44 2001

    I to enjoyed the San Diego concert. Great sound, nice seating. I was one of 4 women in Section “Q”, 2nd row who encountered the same “security person” who attempted to interfere when Neil was singing to the pretty blonde lady in the front row. The security person (about 35 yrs. old) told me that Neil NO LONGER likes people standing and jumping up and down at his concerts, and that if we did not stay in our seats he would force us to leave. He also told us that if we waved our small battery operated candles one more time he would use “his authority” and throw us out. We are not “kids”, we are mature women, we were not causing a problem. This is NOT a Backstreet Boys concert. This man claimed to have been working for Neil personally for the past 3 years. I am attempting to find out if this is true, or if he works for the Cox Arena security. GREAT CONCERT ANYWAY, loved the piano bit, and the personal song to the woman in the front row. Very disappointed that after 30 years of seeing Neil, I am being told that I can’t enjoy what we have ALL enjoyed over the years. ALSO, the security guard told us we were offending Neil’s mother, that she was sitting right behind us. HELLO, there was not one person sitting around us or near us old enough to be Neil’s mother. I’m not certain, but is she alive?

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  5. SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE REVIEW
    Sat Dec 1 22:49:49 2001

    Diamond’s old gems well received

    By George Varga
    POP MUSIC CRITIC

    December 1, 2001

    POP MUSIC REVIEW

    Neil Diamond’s fall tour was planned long before the tragic events of Sept. 11.

    But for those seeking solace in the form of musical comfort food, his ongoing concert trek couldn’t have been better timed.

    Or as Diamond told his 10,051 fans Thursday night at SDSU’s Cox Arena, just before “Solitary Man,” his third selection: “If what they say about music having the power to heal is true, then let the healing begin.”

    His Cox performance began with his flag-waving anthem of brotherhood and all-inclusive unity, “America,” the same song that concluded each of his three sold-out concerts at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1989.

    Of course, the days when this veteran singer-songwriter could sell out three consecutive shows at the Sports Arena are long gone. And it’s been even longer since he scored a major hit record.

    Regardless, on Thursday he provided a reassuring aural balm for his listeners, a mostly nostalgic trek back to a somewhat gentler, more innocent time. And while the less-than-capacity audience seemed slow to warm up, it was transformed into a mass congregation of swaying, cheering celebrants well before the 28-song set concluded with a reprise of “America.”

    In between came a mix of vintage Diamond-penned hits, among them “Cherry Cherry” and “I’m a Believer,” two pop-rock gems that were given surprisingly subdued readings. He began “Red Red Wine” by strumming a lone chord on his jumbo-body acoustic guitar and singing just the word “Red.” The crowd cheered mightily in anticipation, and many — including a woman in a neck brace — danced when the song segued into the clipped-beat reggae version made popular by UB40 in 1988.

    Diamond, 60, doesn’t belt lyrics the way he used to, and he’s less prone to employ melodramatic vocal flourishes, in part because his husky baritone doesn’t soar as easily as before. He also strolls across the stage — which was draped by a huge American flag — rather than sprint as in decades past. And without his trademark sideburns, he now looks even more like veteran TV newscaster Sam Donaldson, albeit more naturally hirsute.

    But Diamond brought with him a newfound cachet of cool, thanks to his growing reputation as a Mack Daddy of ’60s pop-rock who has transcended the Vegas-y kitsch appeal of many of his ’60s peers.

    Credit for this unexpected conversion goes to popular cover versions of Diamond’s songs by such bands as Sugar Ray (“I’m a Believer”) and Urge Overkill (“Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”). Equally notable is the spate of Diamond tribute bands, including the Los Angeles-based Super Diamond, which regularly fills the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach with retro-hipsters who sing along to nearly every word.

    Diamond lost momentum with several selections from his earnest but ordinary new album, “Three Chord Opera,” which received only polite applause. But he easily recovered with inspired readings of “Forever in Blue Jeans,” the gospel-inflected “Holly Holy” and an extended “Sweet Caroline,” which found the crowd singing and dancing along with infectious enthusiasm.

    He also updated the climactic “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” by adding “gay and straight” to his list of “God’s children all,” placing them alongside “black and white, rich and poor, great and small.” And he received solid accompaniment throughout from his 17-piece band, anchored by former Elvis Presley drummer Ronnie Tutt and featuring a four-woman string section that appeared to be miming its parts more often than not.

    George Varga can be reached by phone, (619) 293-2253; fax, (619) 293-2436; mail, San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O. Box 120191, San Diego, 92112; and e-mail, george.varga@uniontrib.com

    Copyright 2001 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

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