Neil Diamond 2001-2002 Concert Reviews

Glasgow, Scotland July 8, 10-11, 2002

Diamond sparkles
From the Evening Times

THERE was a beautiful noise emanating from the SECC as Neil Diamond took to the stage for the first of his four night stay.

In front of a 10,000 strong audience, who had paid 45 for the privilege, the star who sprung to fame in The Jazz Singer sang, laughed and charmed his way through a two hour show.

With the arch of an eyebrow or the sweep of his hand, the 61-year-old changed the tempo with the experience of a man who has spent 40 years on stage.

Lifting the atmosphere with a stirring rendition of Beautiful Noise he silenced the crowd as he dedicated He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother to the firefighters, police officers and soldiers of the world.

For one lucky fan it would take more than a few quiet numbers to still her beating heart.

During Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon Diamond lay flat upon the stage, his hands outstretched to a female devotee. He proceeded to dedicate the song to her, holding her as he sang every word.

"Somebody pass me a cigarette," he joked, as he finished the song.

By the time he led the crowd into Sweet Caroline, he had Glasgow in the palm of his hand. He had indeed reached out and touched every single one of them.

Even after all these years, this Diamond is still sparkling.

SECC, Glasgow July 8
by Billy Sloan
From the Sunday Mail

I'VE awarded Neil Diamond a five-star rating - but to be honest, a mere five stars doesn't begin to convey how good this guy is.

Over the years, I've been to many shows at the SECC. But the memory of this one will live with me for a long time.

I know I'll get pelters from some readers - saying how can you rave about punk groups such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or The Strokes one minute, then enthuse about such a middle-of-the-road act as Neil Diamond?

The answer is simple. Diamond is a class act who fully deserves his superstar tag.

The opening was stunning. With the stage screened by a massive Stars And Stripes, Diamond appeared through a trapdoor and launched into a powerful version of America.

Barely pausing for breath, he stormed through Mission Of Love, then skilfully slowed the tempo on hit ballads Hello Again and Love On The Rocks.

His versatile 17-piece band - including brass and strings sections - was brilliant. But their playing never detracted from the most potent instrument of all - Diamond's deep, textured vocals.

Now 62, the superstar could easily hide behind the band's inspired arrangements or his female backing singers to paper over any cracks. Truth is, there weren't any. He drifts effortless from Cherry Cherry, rocks out on I'm A Believer - the hit he penned for The Monkees in 1967 - then brings the crowd to their feet with a showstopping, If You Know What I Mean.

The latter is a tough song to sing for a performer of any age. But Diamond's voice is faultless.

At times, it's the Las Vegas performer who shines through, with sugary sweet song introductions and anecdotes. He's an American. They do that kind of thing. What did you expect?

The last section of his two and a half hour show was magnificent. Two numbers - I Haven't Played This Song In Years and The Best Part Of Me - from his latest album, Three Chord Opera, were clear indication he can still write great songs.

He delivered note perfect versions of Forever In Blue Jeans, an outstanding Holly Holy and Sweet Caroline. He softened the audience up further with You Don't Bring Me Flowers, with backing vocalist Linda Press beautifully performing the Barbra Streisand parts.

Then Diamond slayed the SECC with the epic I Am I Said, Cracklin' Rosie and Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show.

He's the consummate professional. The voice is still strong. And like the man himself, his string of hits haven't aged a bit. Yes, Diamond is still a gem, and with a priceless talent.

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