Neil Diamond's rabid fans use Web to show their love

From The Olympian - Please visit their website!

ROSS RAIHALA, THE OLYMPIAN
November 30, 2001

SEATTLE -- It comes as little surprise that the Internet is overflowing with Web sites devoted to youth-driven musical acts such as 'N Sync to Limp Bizkit.

But plenty of older acts have long since realized the ability of the Web to reach their most rabid followers and, more often than not, to extract some cash from them in the process.

Sixty-year-old crooner Neil Diamond stands out among his peers, thanks in part to his legendarily devoted fans, the men and women Rolling Stone magazine has referred to as the "Neil Mafia."

In preparation for Diamond's pair of Seattle concerts planned for Wednesday and Thursday, here's a look at the singer/songwriter's presence on the Web:

 

Did you ever wonder just where Diamond buys his sequin shirts?

Me neither, but the answer to that and other similarly not-very-interesting questions can be found at Diamond's official Web site, www.neildiamond.com.

Once there, you'll also learn about the upcoming "Essential Neil Diamond" 2-CD compilation. While it doesn't quite explain why this one is any more "essential" than the dozens of other Neil Diamond best-of collections and live records, the site does include this note from Diamond: "There is something for everyone on the new album -- I think it's great."

Curiously enough, the site's store is under construction but promises to be back "soon."

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Much more personal is www.diamondville.com, which documents Diamond's longtime backup band.

Maintained by keyboard player Tom Hensley, the site features "biographies of our Muzoids, on-tour gossip and maybe even more chili-eating pictures the next time we hit Cincinnati."

The news page, Hensley writes, is "an occasional communique from a nameless, blameless, shameless Muzoid, one of those caught in the act of taking America to America and promoting the notion of love on the rocks."

Perhaps all of this makes sense to Neil Diamond fans.

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One of the longest-running and most complete fan sites can be found at www.neildiamond homepage.com.

Established in 1995 by Joe Imhof, the site boasts "the Web's largest source of Neil Diamond information."

No kidding.

Imhof has provided it all: a discography, lyrics, interviews, an exhaustive links page, up-to-the-minute news, a photo gallery and even a worldwide list of radio stations that play Diamond's music.

The site also features plenty of gushing, full-length missives from fans. Among some of the more entertaining highlights:

- "I've never seen Vancouver rock like that since I saw Deep Purple 23 years ago!"

- "With his sparkling shirt and dreamy voice he brought tears to young and old, male and female."

- "I am 25 years old and without a doubt, he is my favorite singer, songwriter and performer ... I want him to know how wide his appeal is. There are many hip young people out there who think he is the greatest!"

- "He may be a senior citizen, but look how he fills out those pants."

Ross Raihala covers music and entertainment for The Olympian and can be reached at 360-754-5406 or OlyRoss@aol.com.

Neil Diamond

- What: A pair of concerts featuring the 60-year-old singer/songwriter known for hits such as "Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie," "America" and "Kentucky Woman."

- When: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

- Where: KeyArena, Seattle.

- Tickets: $37.50-$57.50.

- For information: Call Ticketmaster Northwest at 206-628-0888.

The Olympian Copyright 2001

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