Neil Diamond 2001-2002 Concert Reviews

Salt Lake City, UT November 1-2, 2001

Diamond, Patriot and Composer, Captures E Center Crowd
Friday, November 2, 2001

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With the American flag suspended over his head, singer Neil Diamond performs his patriotic hit, "Coming to America," on Thursday night at the E Center in West Valley City. Diamond will perform again tonight.
(Ryan Galbraith/The Salt Lake Tribune)

BY DAN NAILEN
From THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, Please visit thier website!


    Neil Diamond is such a consummate American songwriter, delving into virtually every American pop music genre during the past four decades, that it came as no surprise his sold-out Thursday concert at the E Center started in a patriotic fervor.
    As a massive American flag ascended from stage level to the rafters, Diamond's 17-piece band took the stage. As the band launched into "America," Diamond appeared at center stage and three more American flags unfurled from the lighting rigs overhead. He turned the song into a patriotic fist pumper, changing the "they come to America" line to "stand up for America." There was even flag waving in the crowd.
    As Diamond said early on, "If it's true that music can heal, then let the healing begin," and he proceeded to deliver a set spanning both his career and American pop styles. His four-piece horn section was genuinely swinging during "Mission of Love," and the horns punctuated his guitar on the 35-year-old "Solitary Man," still one of Diamond's best songs.
    "Cherry, Cherry" evoked Elvis with the hip-swinging Diamond working his acoustic guitar. A string quartet led into a power-ballad beginning to "Red, Red Wine," before the song shifted into its natural reggae groove.
    Having witnessed both Diamond the Patriot and Diamond the Talented Composer early on, it was now time for Diamond the Loverman. During a slinky-as-ever version of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," Diamond not only knelt to serenade a woman in the front row, he ended up completely lying down on stage, head propped up with one hand, blowing kisses to the arena.
    From that point on, he delivered on old songs and new. "I Believe," from Diamond's new "Three-Chord Opera" album, was the best new song. "Forever in Blue Jeans" was a massive singalong, as was "Sweet Caroline." "Holly Holy" benefited greatly from the string section, before proving to be perhaps the most rocking song of the night.
    Throughout, Diamond's excellent band beautifully captured some of the most recognizable compositions of the past half century.
    Diamond's voice, while gruff at times, generally sounded as good as on his earliest recordings. And it remains a distinctly American voice as well.
   



Diamond preaches to sold-out 'choir'

By Scott Iwasaki
From The Deseret News, Please visit their website!

NEIL DIAMOND in concert at the E Center on Thursday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; additional performance Nov. 2, 8 p.m. Tickets available through Smith'sTix at 467-TIXX.

      Neil Diamond was there to preach the word. And that word, ladies and gentlemen, was love.
      Diamond brought his own traveling salvation show to the E Center Thursday night. And when it was all sung and done, the sold-out audience had a brighter, more optimistic outlook on life.
      "If music has the power to heal, let the healing begin," the singer told the audience of nearly 11,700, just before he strummed out the opening chords to "Solitary Man."
      Fittingly, the concert opened with "America" as Old Glory proudly hung above the stage. And at one very poignant moment, Diamond dedicated "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" to the thousands of firefighters, police and military personnel on the job today.
      "I Am . . . I Said" took on new meaning in light of the state of the nation, especially when Diamond sang the words, "L.A.'s fine, but it's not home/New York's home, but it ain't mine no more . . . ." The only thing that segment lacked was another New York-themed tune, "Brooklyn Roads."
      Still, there was no absence of audience participation. During "Sweet Caroline," Diamond and his band led everyone through three chorus sing-a-longs before continuing the show with "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," which was sung with backup singer Linda Press.
      There was a ton of older tunes offered from the stage. "Shiloh," "Holly Holy" and "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" were some of those tunes. He dedicated "Captain Sunshine" to the band's late steel drum player Vince Charles and performed a rare medley of "Yes I Will" and "Lady Magdalene" on the piano.
      The newer tunes included songs from the album "Three Chord Opera." The moody "I Haven't Played This Song in Years," the optimistic "I Believe in Happy Endings," "You Are the Best Part of Me" and the celebratory "A Mission of Love" were among those songs.
      Of course, no Neil Diamond concert would have been complete without "Cracklin' Rosie" and the spiritual revival of "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show."
      The band, joined by a string quartet and horn section, gave Diamond a solid podium of music from which Diamond preached his message of love to his grateful, devoted followers.


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