Neil Diamond reprises ‘Hot August Night’ in NYC

Neil Diamond reprises ‘Hot August Night’ in NYC
August 10, 2009 By JAY BOBBIN.

For Neil Diamond, a hot August night has a different meaning than it might for anyone else.

In 1972, the veteran music star debuted one of pop music’s seminal albums with “Hot August Night,” which captured one of the 10 sold-out concerts he performed that year at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre. He revisits that triumph – and much of that music – in the new CBS special “Neil Diamond: Hot August Night: NYC” Friday at 8 p.m.

Culled from four shows the Grammy Award winner staged a year ago at Madison Square Garden, the hour spans Diamond hits from “Cherry, Cherry” to “America.” Diamond also takes a personal trip back to the Brooklyn neighborhood where he grew up.

Diamond recently reflected on the special, which gets a DVD release in a longer form the same day.

Why do another “Hot August Night”?It was now or never, as far as I was concerned. I have not had a full-length document done of my concert; I did not think anything could capture it, but I went ahead with this, and I’m glad that I did. This is a spectacular representation of my show, as good as you can get without being there.

When you were performing the New York “Hot August Night,” was the original Los Angeles version on your mind?Not at all. I was just trying to do a great show and let the chips fall where they may. I couldn’t have been happier with it, and I was just very relieved and pleased that we filmed it.

Does it impact your performance to know that you have so many cameras trained on it?It only enhances it, because they can do things that they’ve never been able to do before. The lights, the sound, the stage itself. . . . I don’t know how it all works, but it’s a miracle. This show is a fulfillment of my musical fantasies and the technological capabilities of the world today.

Was it especially significant for you that Madison Square Garden was the site of the show?

Well, it was. It’s kind of the concert center of New York City; it draws from the five boroughs and the areas around it, and it’s representative of the top performing venues. It’s probably first on the list in this country, and maybe the most famous in the world.

To me, it was a place filled with people who lived the same life I lived. They grew up in the same neighborhoods, they went to the same schools, and their backgrounds were so similar to mine that it was as open and honest as I could get. And also as scary as a show could ever be, because you’re playing in front of your own people.

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