Neil Diamond 2001-2002 Concert Reviews

St Louis, MO November 12, 2001

From the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Please visit their website!

Neil Diamond is the comfort food of music.

Warm and filling, soft and soothing, nothing too spicy or surprising, Monday night's concert at the Savvis Center provided the full house with a few hours of calm in an anxious world.

From the gravel-voiced demands of "Holly Holy" to the wistful "I Am…I Said," Diamond's voice stood strong, backed by a 17-piece band, including a four-string female quartet and a four-part male brass ensemble.

Looking for fancy footwork, costume changes or expensive props? Not here. A little hip swivel, one sparkly wine-colored shirt, an American flag – Diamond's simple gestures did not overshadow the songs nor overwhelm the singer.

Despite the two-hour show (and no opening act), Diamond charges far less than other, newer bands on tour; his top price was $60, less than half of what U2 charges for a premium seat. One possible drawback to that lower ticket price was the lack of a video screen, which helps those in the back seats get a better view.

The concert songlist was a little shorter in St. Louis than in other cities and excluded "September Morn" and "Love On The Rocks." But Diamond made up for the deletion with a three-time reprise of "Sweet Caroline" and a flirtatious version of "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon."

First kneeling, then sprawling across a corner platform, Diamond beckoned to an audience member, who was far from girl-age but blushed and tittered grandly at a touch of the singer's hand, to the great enjoyment of both singer and audience. Done with a little humor, the 61-year-old rose above the song's potential creepiness of an older man telling a girl that "soon, she'll need a man." The kiss at the end was the only over-the-top moment in the entire show.

In addition to the standard hits, Diamond offered a few gems for the hard-core fans. One self-described die-hard fan, Bev Lawrence of Alton, called in advance to: a) make sure I was well-versed in Diamond's songs, b) make sure I would stay for the entire concert, including encores and c) tell me that Diamond singing "Yes, I Will," and "Lady Magdalene" was a "very big deal, because it's first time he's ever done those in concert."

Diamond admirably performed both songs on piano, but they lacked the punch of other songs, including "You Are the Best Part of Me," off his latest album. Many of the New Yorker's song lyrics resounded poignantly in the wake of the attacks and none more so than his first and last song, "America."

A patriotic portrait of immigrants, Diamond had the audience up on its feet with a Moses-like wave of his hand, leaving the crowd with full hearts and a satiated appetite.

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