LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 1996
Vol 13: November 17, 1996
Vol 12: October 2, 1996
Neil Diamond appeared at the U.S. Air Arena in Landover,Md. last night to a sold out crowd of 18,000. As usual he was GREAT! The concert began with a light show that had everyone ohhhing and ahhing until Neil started towards the stage. Then it was thunderous applause and screams.
The first few songs were well received and when he sang "come take me" the ladies screamed to the point where Neil just stopped in mid song and stood with a big smile on his face. There was no intermission and he showed no signs of tiring at all. The new song "In my Lifetime" was wonderful and when he announced the new boxed set you could see the eyes light up in anticipation.
All in all it was a great concert and my only regred is that there wer'nt enough items to buy. I never wear the T-shirts.......
I can't believe that I waited 30 years to see Neil again. The concert lived up to everything I had expected. He sang everything and I enjoyed the new stuff too. His voice sounds just like Neil Diamond (the best compliment I could give any singer), even after all these years. He sang the songs the way they were sung so many years ago.
This is what made the concert truly great. Often things cannot live up
to expectations. This concert did and went beyond.
I really enjoy this web page. Keep up the good work.
I am writing you from Santander, a beautifull city in the north of Spain.
I have a connection to Internet since last September, and the very first thing I tryed to find was Neil's name. I found a couple of web pages which I enjoyed very much. Since then I've been wanting to tell you my Neil experiences, and that's what I'm doing right now.
In 1972, when I was only 10, my father brought home a tape by Neil Diamond It was called MOODS. I don`t know what, but something happened in that very moment that shooked very hard inside me and it has been with me for the last 24 years. It may sound stupid but songs like Play Me, Morning Side, Captain Sunshine and so on may stilll move me in such a way.
Since then the only thing I could do about Neil's music was to buy all his LPs, tapes and lately his CDs, and look forward to the day I could have the opportunity to see Neil in tour. That happened in 1992. I saw him twice at Wembley Arena (London). I flyed there only to see him, and I almost cryed like a baby when he came out to the stage: I couldn't believe it. It was him at last.
Here in Spain Neil hasn't got lots of fans as in England, Australia and, of course in USA, so you may call me the first and more loyal Neil fan in Spain, together with a friend of mine called Xavier Gonz E1lez from Barcelona, who came as well to London to see Neil's performances.
I have two kids, a girl of seven and a boy of two. Both of them recognize Neil's voice and they start shouting his name when they hear his songs.
Finally I have an idea that I'm sure you are going to like. What about having a section of Neil's music in Midi format? I am starting to learn Midi language and I've done a Midi version of my favourite Neil song: Play Me, and another one of Walk on Water's Theme. I've also made some arrengements to a Cherry Cherry version I once found in a CD. I haven't been able to find more songs, not even via Internet, so this could be a good sight to have them all together.
If this could be done, please insert my e-mail in order to have any comme= nts from any "professional" Midi programmers.
Thank you very much for your marvellous web page. I hope you carry on with it.
I just got back into town (Huntsville, Alabama) from a few days of vacation in Louisville, Ky. My wife and I are both from Ky and catch Neil anytime he is in the vicinity.
What can I say - it was good seeing him again. The one thing that struck me was the entire show was not as frenzied as in some of the past shows. He seemed to let if flow more and paid alot more attention to the lyrical quality. In some previous concerts I have been to he was so focus on keeping the crowd on their feet through the whole show that he was doing a lot of lyric 'yelling' rather than 'singing' - not this time. Actually, this one was much more like the original Hot August Night concert(s) where he really worked with each song.
One song they did that I have not seen in too many play lists was Shilo. The band introductions were done to The Last Picasso and after everyone was introduced he sang the last verse and chorus of the song to finish up. One clever thing that he has done with the song arrangement is that he has saved some of the old-time standards for the encores. For example, he sang Brother Love and began to slooowly walk-off. The crowd sensed that he was leaving and went bananas. He ran back up the ramp and then sang Cracklin' Rose and Sweet Caroline. When he started to walk off again, he hesitated long and hard and I think wanted to do another one, but he didn't seem to have it in him.
This was probably the most special as we took our 7 year old son 'Neil Wesley Lovett' to the show for his first ND concert. He was extatic and danced in his seat the whole time. That's it for now...
I read this article in the LA Times, I liked it and thought I would
share it with you.
DEFENDING NEIL DIAMOND
Yes, I really like the "melodic pop songs with a firm, earthy rootedness in folk, R&B and rock 'n' roll," I also love the "bloated, histrionic ballads." I don't find Diamond's voice to be grating at all; infact he has a wonderful baritone that has only gotten richer over the years. Why shouldn't Diamond play music (the "inflated ballads") that are crowd-pleasers? Isn't that what performing is all about? "America" is a song of hope and dreams. Should these be abandoned because of troubled times? Or can we celebrate our hopes and dreams, and work to make them come true for all people?
I guess enjoying music that makes me feel good about myself and others
around me (i.e. schmaltzy) is hopelessly out dated. All I can say is thank you, Neil
Diamond, for a great time, and please don't change who you are!
I just saw Neil in Dayton!!!!!!!!! As always, he was fantastic and nothing less!!!
Even if I were not a fan (which could never happen) he and the band put on such a great show, I don't know how anyone could not enjoy. Needless to say, I personally am not sorry his marriage is no more ( that news hit the paper around my birthday, my children tried to find his E-mail address in order to give him to me as a present). Seriously, next time he's in town and wants a real meal, it'll be on the table!
Vol 11: August 27, 1996
Joe! WOW I'm soooo excited! I just stumpled onto your your home page about my beloved Neil! YEAH! All these years I've had no way to findout what Neil and the band are up to. Now, I know lots! I feel like a child visiting Disney Word for the first time. Gosh, so much excitment. All sorts of neat stuff about Neil! I'm a true Diamondhead and have never been able to really identify with anyone over my admiration for Neil. But, looks like everyone in the world loves Neil as much as me!
My husband and I saw Neil this last week in Anaheim, CA. I must say, those around me were not as 'nuts' over Neil as I was. But, I did, afterwall, warn them before the concert that I was Neils #1 fan. To sum it up, they 'put up' with my cheers, yells, and dancing! I didn't care- but I was with Neil! Good thing my husband is a good sport.
The Anaheim reviews, though distressing, are right on the mark I believe. Now that Neil has turned out the 'Tennessee Moon" material, obviously his best body of work in a long time, there is something to compare the past 10 years with and most of his work during that time doesn't measure up. I would like to see Neil take a hiatus from performing (even though I will miss him) and go back to Nashville and just write and record. Relocate there permanently if necessary. He still has so much wonderful music inside him -- I think he is wasting valuable time and energy on these 'repeat' tours. Just a few comments.
I was so saddened to read your review of Neil Diamond and to realize you are suffering from a MAJOR brain fade. Is it terminal????? How long have you been ill? I too was at the San Jose concert, and my brain tells a very different story. I had the time of my life, both Saturday and Sunday nights.
How agonizing painful it sounds for you to have been trapped in an arena with 19,322 "(by his count)", excited fans. It must have been just awful to witness them enjoying themselves. Did it pain you to see them singing and dancing? Did you notice the 60ish ladies in front of you rocking out and worry about their health? Did you watch the teenagers, some there with their parents, smiling, clapping, standing on their chairs? Did you wonder with awe how one performer could gather such a vast group of fans of such varied ages? More likely, when you looked around you saw a group of 30-50 year olds that were extremely happy, with overjoyed smiles on their faces, acting like teenagers. You must excuse their behavior, people tend to react as such when seeing a performer that they have loved for over 30 years.
I do hope you feel better soon............... By the way, that "cracklin' and froggy" voice is better known as a "throaty growl" and it is adored by fans around the world. It was so named by David Browne, the very fair and opened minded Entertainment Weekly reviewer, which only goes to show you why he's working for a national pubication and you're not.
My wife and I attenndedthe August 11 concert at the San Jose Arena and even though we were situated in the "nosebleed seats", We fully appreciated Neils performance.He unboubtedly can only be described as the "Greatest" The show which lasted just short of 2 1/2 hours was just captivating to both my wife and I. We will arrange for better seating at the next event that we will attend. While the shows rates a 10+ with us, the SJ arena barely gets a 4.(sour grapes).
Thanks for listening.
As a writer, I often listen to Neil Diamond when writing because his music of life, love and living is truly inspirational. Neil Diamond evokes a wide-range of emotions from his listeners and I for one, am grateful that he has chosen to share this gift with us, his fans.
Vol 10: August 13, 1996
I'm a fairly new Neil Fan, although my mom listened to Hot August Night at least three times a day, every day, while she was pregnant with me. So Iguess it was a pre-birth phenomenon. However, I did see him all three nights that he played in Boston. The first two nights, I had pretty good seats, but on the third night, I walked in with my ticket and I was informed that the section I was supposed to be in (third row in the loge) had been removed, and that I'd have to go to customer service. Everyone who I dealt with at customer service as well as the ushers acted as if I had gotten gypped with the replacement seat they gave me. So I was quite surprised and more than a little thrilled (O.K., I was speechless) when I was led to front row center!
Wow! Very few things in my life have been as thrilling as that. Anyhow, I've been more than just an average fan since then. My weary friends can probably attest to that. They've ordered me to stop talking about him, or they'd have me committed. Sigh... What's a Diamond fan to do?
Hey, thanks for the great page!
I was totally jazzed by Mr. Diamond's performance. He was energetic and enthusiastic. He never left the stage, performing from 8:10 P.M. to 10:40 P.M. without an intermission. He spent most of the evening with a big grin on his face, throwing kisses to the audience of over 19,000. Audience participation was at a max with arms waving, knees bouncing and voices raised in song. It was completely and utterly exciting.
He gave us 3 encores, one of them being "Brother Love" complete with Mr. Diamond enveloped in white lights from beneath the pedestal he was standing on. The place went crazy.
He was in exceptional voice (better than I've heard him in a long time) and he seemed to be having a terrific time. I know I was.
The show was fabulous. Moving with a grace that firmly distinguishes him as only Diamond could, he stopped the audience in its tracks. Diamond successfully brought back our youth with songs such as "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Forever in Blue Jeans" and then opened our eyes to new hits such as "One Good Love", "Marry Me" and "Can Anybody Hear Me". A show that you could see over and over - not to be missed by any Neil Diamond fan of any age.
-Melissa Rance, Seattle
From: Tom & Lynda Bouchard
I have just attended my 7th Neil Diamond Concert. I can't believe that I could possibly be saying to you that it was more exciting than the very first concert back in 1979. For the first time in all these years I was able to get seats so very close (3rd row on the floor). Neil has always been a special part of my life. He has made me feel that he is glad I'm there no matter how far back I sat. I have never felt so alive as when I'm at his concerts and to think he was so close to my home on his Harley in Packwood Washington State. Because of my love of Neil I have met knew friends. Every where I go and wear my Diamond T-shirt someone will stop me and ask which concert I was at and there you have it, a new friend with kindred spirts. Thank you Neil. My greatest dream would be to have Neil over for dinner, just to relax after his long tour. My husband and I would love to entertain him in our home to thank him for the great times he has given us. Oh well, it's such a wonderful thought. Thanks for listening Joe and keep up your GREAT work on THE home page.
Lynda Bouchard Centralia WA.
From: Margaret Card Subject: TM reviews Joe, Response to letter from G. Loehr: I agree with him that too many fans don't give Neil's new songs or less known songs a chance in concert. Neil has written many wonderful songs, other than the concert favorites, that I would enjoy seeing performed - along with a hearty sampling of the favorites of course. Familiarity breeds contentment with the fans at his concerts, but I think we should all give him a chance to sing other songs too. Besides, he must get tired of performing the crowd favorites - not that he lets it show.
You have been doing a FANTASTIC job with the Neil Diamond Home Page. I know you have spent many, many hours keeping all us Neil Diamond fans informed and, I for one, very much appreciate your efforts. It's been especially fun to read all the concert reviews you have been posting, even the one from Ames, Iowa. I think that reviewer was having a good time "pulling the chain" of the Neil Diamond fans and wanted to see what reaction he would get from them. On the whole though, it's been rather heartening to discover that most concert reviewers give Neil high marks. I've become accustomed to so much Diamond-bashing over the years that these reviews came as a surprise to me.
From: Phil Badalamenti
A few comical quips interjected throughout the show made the breaks between tunes that much more pleasant. As Neil was introducing the very strong ballad "One Good Love" from his new album, he said "I have good news and bad...Waylon couldn't be here tonight, but......who cares! I know all the words..."
The band's limelight came about halfway through the evening when each and every member was introduced and given the chance to show off his or her chops. When musicians of this caliber lend the sounds of their souls to your ears, it makes even the most seasoned players such as myself envious. The concert in the round, complete with a revolving stage, allows the audience to see everyone in the band, right along with Neil, even when he's standing still.
Throughout the evening over 19,000 people at the Rose Garden were standing, clapping and swaying to the music...which Neil constantly says is most welcomed, and just goes to show how much admiration this 55 year old gentleman draws when he takes center stage. To sum it all up, I'd gladly trade every Diamond album I had for another chance to see him live in concert.
Vol 9: July 21, 1996
Editiorial: Good Question, any ideas folks? How about a letter writing campaign? Anyone familiar with the process - who we should bombard with letters, etc???
Subject: Neil Diamond's albums of the 80s
Concentrating on his abilities as songwriter seems to me to be a feasible way of dealing with the problem, much discussed among Diamond-fans, of the quality of Diamond's albums in the 80s. I think one cannot deny they are pretty bad, especially "Primitive", but also "Headed for the Future". But -- on both of these albums there is at least one song written by Neil Diamond himself, which is very, very good, so good indeed, that no one else could have written them. I think Diamond was simply ill advised to fill up these albums with songs written by others, alien to his character as artist. But think of these beautiful songs, for instance "You make it feel like Christmas" (on "Primitive") - isn't it beautiful? Or remember the almost classic, well-proportioned and well thought out "The Story of My Life" (on "Headed for the Future"). I like that song so very much! Or think of another problematic album: "The Best Years of My Life" - but I think his song "Hooked on the memory of you" is pretty good. So there is something good to these albums - at least they have delivered some beautiful tunes.
I believe that his ablum "Lovescape" was a general turn to the better. And "Tennessee Moon" is as a whole a very good album indeed.
By the way, I believe Diamond-fans have to allow Neil to develop his repertoire in the direction of newer songs (and older, but less well-know songs, too). I always read in reports on his concerts that people become restless when he performs some newer songs. But many of his new songs are, spoken in terms of quality, undoubtedly as good as the old ones. So why not listen carefully and attentively? Why not help that they become classics, too?
Of course all of these opinions are judgments of taste, I know. So I will end with telling you, that my favourite Diamond album is "Beautiful Noise", but I think the most perfect album as a whole is "I'm glad you're here with me tonight".
Best greetings and best wishes to all Neil Diamond-fans,
From: Matt Tidmarsh
I'm in a Neil Diamond tribute band called Super Diamond based out of San Francisco. We just created a web site and I was wondering if there's anyway possible to have our site added to your link list ? I'd be more than happy to add your site to ours in exchange( I'll probably add it regardless ).
Here's our URL-
Also, We going to be doing a series of shows in August in tribute to the (what else) "Hot August Night" album. We're going to be performing every song and even every comment between songs (Hello tree people)We're going to be adding an orchestra and a choir. We putting a lot of work into this and we hope we can do it justice.
We're also trying to time these shows to be when Neil will be performing in the area. He'll be in San Jose in early August around the same time of our shows. We've tried to get an invitation out to him but I have no idea if he has received it yet.
Super Diamond has been performing for the past 3 years and it still amazes me how people respond to Neil's music. Everyone just goes crazy! Women are either crying or throwing their bras at Surreal Neil (the star of Super Diamond). Surreal Neal has an uncanny ablity to sound exactly like the real Neil. It's almost scarry sometimes.
We're definitly THE biggest night club draw in San Francisco( yes I'm boasting) ,selling out everywhere, and we hope to become a nation touring act soon.
Anyway, let me know what you think.
From: Norm Dutot
Neil Diamond sold out the Fargodome last night (28,600) and put on a wonderful performance, his first in Fargo since 1968. Along with his long time favorites, he performed songs from his Tennessee Moon Album which were well received. Diamond still has the voice and performing flair to pack 'em in. With a population of about 630,000 in North Dakota, about one of every 23 people in the state were at the Neil Diamond concert on July 16!! That would be equivalent to over 1 million at a concert in California!
From: Jim & Bonnie Morgans
Vol 8: July 2, 1996
My own personal thoughts were that his voice was excellent! Diamond seemed to slow everything down, almost to say a studio type session. He has a tendency to want to out sing the band, but this time seemed very content to take his time with all of the songs. Everything was very deliberate and sounded great.
The second night at the Civic Arena, Diamond seemed more lively than the first, but still a great evening of listening to, as Doe Davis would say, "The Neil." Sorry she couldn't have been there for one more tour, but I'm sure she was listening anyway!
On the first night the "FOND" letters were waving in the center stands directly across from the stage. I believe that Neil acknowledged them a couple of times during the concert
. Towards the end of the first night, Neil also accepted 3 bouquets of flowers from the fans in the front row of Section 1, where I was located. They were the only flowers Neil took either night.
In kind of a different close to the concerts this time was that he did leave the stage after "America" which continued to play for a couple of minutes after Diamond left the stage. Diamond then re-entered with his phrase "I think we have a few more left in us." He then proceeded to sing 3 songs before the final curtain call of the evening. The 3 songs were "Sweet Caroline, Cracklin Rosie, and of course Brother Loves Traveling Salvation Show."
I had written down all of the songs Diamond sang on those 2 nights, but do not have them with me now or I would post them. I can say that he sang 27 songs in all, the only difference between the 2 nights was on the second night he left out "Longfellow Serenade".
I throughly enjoyed the shows in Pittsburgh, and look forward to the Philadelphia concert(s) in September. My only hope and wish is that somewhere along this tour a video is made. It would be a shame for this man, with the type of show he puts on for his fans, not to leave an additional legacy of himself. Please make a full-length video, WITHOUT INTERUPTION, just like the concert itself.
Almost got killed getting to the Gund Arena for the Friday, June 28 concert. Well worth the risk. The man is fantastic -- as always. He had everyone on their feet throughout the concert. I can't wait until he tours again. I'll certainly be there.
From: Jo Hudgins
I love Neil Diamond! I have been a devout fan of his since 1972 when I heard him sing "Song Sung Blue." I was hooked, my husband was jealous. I got rid of that husband finally six years ago.
My new husband of one year and I are traveling to Detroit tomorrow to see Neil in concert. I am so excited! I saw him only once before about 5 years ago in Dayton, Ohio. I am from Ohio. I'm now living in Toronto, Canada, with my new hubby. I have converted him into a Neil Diamond fan. I think I'll keep this husband, (g).
From: Paul A. Ruppel
Both shows were pretty much the same, with only one song played in the Cleveland show not sung in Pittsburgh. The only song missing from the show that I expected to hear was "Tennessee Moon." I knew he'd play a selection of the album, and had hoped that would be one of them. Here's the list of songs played in both shows:
Crunchy Granola Suite
Neil seems to have made another fan out of my wife. She didn't expect to have as much fun as she did, and now is thinking about catching another show in the fall when he comes back east again.
From: Carol A. Loughlin
Subject: Letter to the editor
I am hoping to see Neil add some of the "Serenade" material to the current concert tour. I think he needs to put "Love On The Rocks" to bed. I really hate the way he does the song in concert. The faster concert version really retards a very good ballad. I wouldn't mind seeing "Heartlight" go for a while either. I miss "I've Been This Way Before" and "Home Is a Wounded Heart' from Beautiful Noise. Also "Desiree" is always fantastic.
It is really pitiful how it's so hard for Neil Diamond to get his songs on the radio. This all seemed to start with the release of "Best Years Of Our Lives." I remember arguing with a DJ in an attempt to get the station to play it. I told her that if Bruce Springsteen did the song the same way it would be top three in the nation. She agreed with me! The big problem is that most Diamond fans don't listen to much music radio anymore. It's all demographics.