Neil Diamond 2001-2002 Concert Reviews

Newcastle, UK - July 16, 2002

Gem of a night

From The Evening Chronicle

Music legend Neil Diamond sparkled in a triumphant return to Tyneside.

The 61-year-old showed no signs of his advancing years as he performed non-stop for almost two and a half hours last night, with no interval, to a packed Telewest Arena.

It marked Diamond's fifth show at the venue in six years and once again it proved to be a gem of a night.

Ten thousand fans, spanning all generations, were greeted with an American flag in front of the stage.

But as soon as the lights dimmed, the flag fell, Diamond appeared and went straight into one of his most popular songs, America.

From that moment on the New Yorker, born Noah Kaminsky, could do no wrong, strolling through his extensive back catalogue of hits.

Within the first 20 minutes we were treated to the likes of Love On The Rocks and Hello Again, then it was on to hits like Beautiful Noise and Forever In Blue Jeans.

His hits were interspersed by songs that were hits for others. My friend turned to me and said Diamond had murdered "that cover of Red, Red Wine" - little knowing it was a Diamond track covered by UB40.

And his rendition of I'm A Believer, made famous by The Monkees, went down a storm. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon stood out as the highlight for me.

But, naturally, it was Sweet Caroline and Cracklin' Rosie, which got the best reaction.

This was Diamond's first gig at the Arena not to be held in the round, and I did hear a few whispers from people at the back that they were none to happy there were no large video screens.

For me, the in-the-round shows did have the edge, for the very reason that no matter where in the audience you were, you got a good view of the singer.

That aside this remained top-notch entertainment. Few acts could hold an audience with no interval. Diamond did just that, from start to finish.

A nine-carat performance!

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