Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweet Sweet Caroline

The hair is thinning. There are no sequins. And the 67-year old face appears to have had some work done (and I only say that because no one looks that good at 67). But the pants are tight. The lights are bright. And the voice....the voice is as good as it ever was, maybe even better having softened and mellowed with age. There is no question that Neil Diamond is a star. A Superstar!

Despite the older age of the audience (as dad said think Metamucil and prune juice), the crowd was on its feet, singing, screaming, hollering, cheering, dancing, and in general getting their groove on as Neil worked his way through a 2-hour set of many of his most cherished and greatest hits. Of course, when your career spans 40+ years and 35+ albums, how do you narrow it down? This was a topic we debated before the show. What exactly would he sing? How many songs off the new album which he is out there trying to promote? How many old favorites? And which old favorites?

I think in the end, no matter what he sang, it would have been hard for Neil to disappoint. But as it was - he sang many of my favorites including Love on the Rocks, I'm a Believer, Solitary Man, Kentucky Woman, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, America, Crackling Rosie, I Am...I Said, Hello Again, Cherry Cherry, Play Me, Beautiful Noise, Song Sung Blue, Forever in Blue Jeans, and Crunchy Granola Suite. He also sang 3 songs off his new album, including the title track, Home Before Dark; the first single, Pretty Amazing Grace; and Don't Go There (I think - I haven't listened to the album all that much). He closed with 2 songs off his 2005 album, 12 Songs (which is one of my favorites): Man of God and Hell Yeah - which is the perfect song for Neil at this stage in his life (just check out the lyrics here.)

And in answer to the most important question - does Neil Diamond still sing Sweet Caroline? The answer is Yes. Yes, he does. Twice.

And if that ain't a 67-year old Superstar who still knows how to get a crowd of 20,000 geriatrics on their feet, I'll kiss your...