Neil is #1 - Columbia Press Release


(dateline - New York - May 14, 2008; source: Columbia Records)








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 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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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        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