Neil Diamond 2001-2003 Concert Reviews / Photos
Mohegan Sun, CT - September 12, 2002
Music review;Years haven't dimmed shine of this Diamond
By DAVID PENCEK
Neil Diamond doesn't just have an encyclopedia of classic songs. More than the hit music from most other artists, Diamond's catalog strikes a profound personal chord with people. The songs stir up passion and memories and have become part of Americana.
The proof of that came Thursday night when Diamond
completely enthralled the sold-out crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena for more
than two hours. The audience poured out all their love and admiration for
the 61-year-old Diamond, who reciprocated in near-effortless fashion.
Few can work an audience better than Diamond. He walked all over the stage and stared into the crowd, making the experience more intimate than actually being in a 10,000-seat venue.
While Diamond's voice wasn't as strong as it was 20 years ago, it carried the same charm and comfort that it always has.
Wearing a red-sequined shirt and black pants, Diamond was backed by a 17-piece band than included a four-woman string section and four-man horn section. Watching the string section dance and sway while Diamond sang "The Boat That I Row" provided one of the more humorous moments of the evening.
With a giant American flag hanging in front of the stage, the orchestra began the show by playing an introduction before going into "America," Diamond's hit song from "The Jazz Singer" about people immigrating to the United States. The flag raised and Diamond appeared on stage. In this state of heightened patriotism, several audience members waved their own flags as Diamond sang.
The opening number, sung one day after the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, put the audience in such an excitable state that you wondered where could Diamond go from there. For Diamond, it was easy. Just play those songs people knew and loved.
Diamond touched on all parts of his nearly 40-year musical career, from his first hits "Cherry, Cherry" and "Solitary Man" to selections from last year's album "Three Chord Opera."
Throughout the show, Diamond knew exactly when to slow the evening down with one of his ballads, such as "Hello Again" or "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," which he performed with a backup singer in lieu of Barbra Streisand. Then he knew when to get the audience to its feet with "Forever In Blue Jeans," "I'm A Believer" or "Sweet Caroline." He performed the last half of "Sweet Caroline" twice so the audience could sing-along.
As Diamond took his final bows, his band played "America" again and the giant flag unfurled a second time.
Set list: "America;" "A Mission Of Love;" "Hello
Again;" Solitary Man;" "The Boat That I Row;" "Cherry, Cherry;" "Red, Red
Wine;" "I'm A Believer;" "Play Me;" "Soolaimon;" If You Know What I Mean;"
"Beautiful Noise;" "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon;" "I Haven't Played This
Song In Years;" "You Are The Best Part Of Me;" "Forever In Blue Jeans;" "Starflight;"
"Captain Sunshine;" "Holly Holy;" "Sweet Caroline;" "You Don't Bring Me
Flowers;" "Yes I Will/Lady Magdelene;" "Shilo;" "He Ain't Heavy ... He's
My Brother;" "I Am ... I Said;" encore "Cracklin' Rosie;" "Brother Love's
Traveling Salvation Show;" "America" (reprise).
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