Neil is #1 - Columbia Press Release
(dateline - New York - May 14, 2008; source: Columbia Records)
NEIL DIAMOND ROCKETS TO THE TOP
OF THE BILLBOARD 200
WITH HOME BEFORE DARK,
HIS FIRST-EVER #1 ALBUM
& HIGHEST-EVER TOP 200 CHART DEBUT
He's sold 125 million albums worldwide, penned 36 Top 40 hits, won a Grammy and a Golden Globe and performed for millions of packed-house crowds around the world. But Neil Diamond has never had a No. 1 debut or No. 1 album -- until now. HOME BEFORE DARK -- Diamond's latest album and second for Columbia Records with producer Rick Rubin -- has entered Billboard's Top 200 in the top slot, with first week's sales of 145,840 (according to SoundScan), giving the legendary singer, songwriter and performer the first No. 1 album of his monumental career.
In addition to being both the highest debut and highest-charting release of Diamond's career, the critically acclaimed HOME BEFORE DARK is the 46th Neil Diamond album since 1966's The Feel of Neil Diamond to appear on the Billboard 200 and marks his 15th full-length song collection to hit the Top 10.
USA Today hails Diamond as a "classic craftsman," adding, "this second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin yields another winner, stripping away gloss and sentimentality to reveal Diamond's songwriting gifts and emotional vulnerability. Members of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers lend assistance, but the heart of Home lies in Diamond's still-potent voice and undiminished pop craftsmanship."
The Miami Herald called the album "a must have," the Dallas Morning News described the disc as "the exhilarating sound of a mature man truly reconnecting with his younger, hungrier self," the Boston Globe praised the album for remaining "true to the organic blueprint that casts Diamond's gifts in a fresh, gratifying light," and AOL Music wrote "The release of the sublimely intimate, Rick Rubin-produced 'Home'…reminds us where else fans should be able to catch a glimpse of Diamond: In the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame."
HOME BEFORE DARK follows Diamond's previous highest-charting debut and first collaboration with Rubin, 2005's 12 Songs, which entered the Top 200 at No. 4.
On May 7, Neil Diamond returned to New York to play an impromptu surprise show at The Bitter End, the site of some of his earliest live gigs. Performing on a small New York nightclub stage for the first time in more than 40 years, Neil delighted his SRO audience, many of whom had lined up outside the club since the early hours of the morning, with songs from his new album -- "Don't Go There," "Home Before Dark" and "Pretty Amazing Grace" -- as well as the classics "Solitary Man," "Kentucky Woman," "Cherry Cherry" and "Sweet Caroline." Neil, his new album, and his historic return to The Bitter End enjoyed a huge Internet pickup (approximately 230 million in cumulative monthly audience, according to comScore Media Metrix) on a wide variety of websites.
Diamond will be performing new songs and classic hits during his highly anticipated 37-city North American summer tour, scheduled to kick off July 19th in St. Paul. Fans should visit www.neildiamond.com and check local listings for updated information. The North American leg follows a series of European dates starting May 24th in Rotterdam, with new dates recently added to accommodate an overwhelming demand for tickets.
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NEIL DIAMOND 2008 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
19 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
20 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
22 Sioux City, IA Tyson Events Center
24 Omaha, NE Qwest Center Omaha
26 Chicago, IL United Center
27 Chicago, IL United Center
29 Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse
31 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
3 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
5 Washington, DC Verizon Center
7 Hartford, CT XL Center
9 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center
12 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
14 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
15 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
18 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena
20 Albany, NY Times Union Center
23 Boston, MA Fenway Park
25 Columbus, OH Value City Arena at The Schottenstein Center
27 Green Bay, WI Resch Center
29 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
14 Winnipeg, MB MTS Center
16 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
18 Calgary, AB Pengrowth Saddledome
20 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place
22 Portland, OR Rose Garden
24 Seattle, WA KeyArena at Seattle Center
26 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
28 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
1 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
2 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
7 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena
10 Phoenix, AZ Jobing.com Arena
12 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
14 Houston, TX Toyota Center
16 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
19 Oklahoma City, OK Ford Center
21 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
24 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
26 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BankAtlantic Center
28 Orlando, FL Amway Arena Orlando
30 Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena