Neil Diamond 2001-2003 Concert Reviews / Photos

Reading, PA - September 10, 2002

Diamond shines in Reading


During his sold-out concert Tuesday at the Sovereign Center, singer Neil Diamond hits the many high notes of his long career.
By Stephanie Caltagirone
Reading Eagle Correspondent

Neil Diamond rose on a platform from beneath the stage at the Sovereign Center and the crowd went wild Tuesday night.
Emerging to the strains of an orchestral overture of “America,” Diamond and his 17-member band took the audience on a more than 30-year journey through his extensive catalogue of hits.

Opening with “America,” Diamond encouraged the audience to stand and sing along. The audience was more than happy to oblige for the two-hour concert.

Mixing new material from his 2001 album, “Three Chord Opera,” with his first hit singles, classics and material he wrote for other bands, Diamond covered the high notes in his lengthy career.

The upbeat “A Mission of Love” from “Three Chord Opera” gave way to the contemplative “Hello Again.”

He didn't make the crowd wait long for his first hit singles “Cherry, Cherry” and “Solitary Man,” after which he played “Red, Red Wine” and “I'm a Believer,” which was a No. 1 hit for the Monkees.

He picked up a guitar for “Solitary Man” and held onto it for a few songs, such as “The Boat That I Row.”

He spoke to the crowd several times, telling them he was going to do a sensitive male song as an introduction to “Play Me” and reclining on the stage to kiss a woman in the front row during “Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon,” after which he commented to her male companion, “She's ready for you now.”

Backed by two singers, four string players, four brass players, two keyboardists, two percussionists and three guitarists, Diamond's gospel and classical leanings were most evident on “Soolaimon,” “Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show” and “Holly Holy.”

Other songs were “I Am . . . I Said,” “If You Know What I Mean,” “Beautiful Noise,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Sweet Caroline,” “You Don't Bring Me Flowers,” “Shiloh” and “Cracklin' Rose.”

As a tribute to the police, firefighters and the military who, Diamond said, “protect our freedom that we love so much,” he sang “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother,” which elicited a chant of “USA! USA!” from the audience.


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