October 6, 2022
Fri Dec 7 10:42:40 2001
I wrote a quick [& emotional] note about the concert on the main page, but here are some more details…. I agree with another responder that the seating at the Key arena was uncomfortable–floor seats very close, rows very close. The audience wasFANTASTIC–Neil addressed the nosebleeders a few times & they went nuts! This show was one of the best ones I’ve seen for crowd dancing, standing, cheering, etc. Neil looked GREAT! and really happy. No begging for Stand up for America–they were up from the start. Many were singing along for Mission of love–but it was hard to see from my seat if there were any L-O-VE signs anywhere [I was on floor, center, row 20–not the greatest place for someone 5’2″–no matter–I was in Neil Heaven!].Sitting for Solitary Man–Most were standing & cheering for Cherry, RRW & IAB. LOTS of hanky offers from the front for Play Me as well as a black bra, which Neil handled in his own humerous way–audience roared! Soolaimon was electric–Julia unbelievable–lots of arm exercise from the audience on that one. The emotion emanating from Neil during If you Know What I Mean made tears spring to my eyes–also a a lot of clapping & response to BN. I was too short to see over the crowd for the Girl song, but judging by the crowds response–a couple of women were made VERY happy up there! Nice response to the new songs–I thought the live rendition of I Haven’t Played This Song was heart stopping with emotion–that thing we so love about Neil. Crowd went nuts for Forever in BJ’s. & Starflight was well received and really spotlighted the excellence of Neil’s band. Quiet respect noted on Captain Sunshine followed by a rousing Holly Holy…..I think Neil got one of the biggest screaming & clapping responses from Sweet Caroline that I’ve ever seen–& there was no coaxing for the singalong [like there was at the WaDC show on Sep30].Flowers was beautiful of course–Linda in fine form. The highlight for me was definitely Yes I Can & LM medley, sung so clear & beautifully as well as the piano performance–WOW!!!!! [more tears].Good resonse for Shilo followed by a very powerful tribute of He Ain’t Heavy. IAIS–speaks for itself–beautiful!!—Much rowdy clapping & cheering for an encore which felt like another Seattle earthquake–in all a TOTALLY AWESOME FANTASTIC WONDERFUL concert. Congratulations NEIL!!!! The black/gray shirt was striking, and the light show was outstanding–often surrounding Neil in a large crown of lights. If there were any disappointments–they were that I wish I could have seen better and that Neil did not sing You Make It Feel Like Christmas. This was the BESTChristmas present I ever gave myself, as I travelled to Seattle From Pa. & had some great friends reunions!! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all you wonderful Neil Fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REVIEW
Thu Dec 6 18:08:41 2001
Old pro Diamond is smooth and polished
Friday, December 7, 2001
By GENE STOUT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER POP MUSIC CRITIC
Neil Diamond is one of the hottest arena-level acts on the road this fall — for several reasons.
WHEN: Wednesday night
The first is obvious: He’s Neil Diamond, a four-star entertainer with decades of experience and dozens of hit songs.
The other reasons may not be so obvious.
Diamond, who has survived so many music trends, is now part of one — pop nostalgia among the young. The 60-year-old singer has inspired dozens of tribute bands, notably the cover group Super Diamond, and attracted a legion of new fans under 30.
And in a post-Sept. 11 America, Diamond’s show is unabashedly patriotic without being crass.
With Old Glory hanging above the stage, Diamond opened Wednesday night’s show at KeyArena with a rousing version of “America” from his 1981 remake of “The Jazz Singer.” When he sang the line, “Stand up for America,” the entire crowd rose to its feet and cheered.
The trim-looking star, dressed in black slacks, shoes and sequined shirt, was backed by a 17-piece orchestra that featured four horn players, four string players and two background vocalists.
Instead of performing “in the round,” as he often did in the ’90s, Diamond sang from a wide stage situated at one end of KeyArena. The stage was equipped with steps leading down to small platforms, allowing interaction with concertgoers in the front.
The spontaneous clapping that is part of every Diamond show erupted during “A Mission of Love,” one of the best songs from his new album, “Three Chord Opera.” It’s his first collection of new, original songs in many years.
Diamond paused to talk about “what the country’s been going through” and told the cheering crowd, “They say music has the power to heal. If that’s so, let the healing begin!”
The show was nicely paced, with set-the-world-on-fire rockers evenly balanced with romantic tunes and melancholy ballads. The reflective “Solitary Man” preceded “Cherry, Cherry,” “Red, Red Wine” and a boisterous “I’m a Believer,” a hit for the Monkees in 1966.
A season showman, Diamond often teased fans. Before singing “Play Me,” he warned the audience that the song made him so emotional he might need a “hanky.” When several women rushed to the stage with handkerchiefs, Diamond dutifully mopped his forehead with each and returned it to its owner. But a fourth woman produced a bra, bringing howls of laughter.
During “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” two young women in T-shirts approached the stage and began hyperventilating when Diamond sang to them while lying on his side. At the end of the song, he tenderly kissed them, and then pretended to pass out. “Does anybody have a cigarette?” he asked after getting up. “I didn’t know the girls were that hot.”
Diamond followed with several songs from his new album. Three violinists and a cellist accompanied him at the front of the stage. None of the songs, however, created the excitement generated by his older songs. Some of the best audience participation came during “Sweet Caroline,” which Diamond turned into a sing-along.
Diamond concluded his show with an explosive version of “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” and a reprise of “America.”
P-I pop music critic Gene Stout can be reached at 206-448-8383 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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