LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 1996


Vol 14: December 8, 1996

Dear Joe,
Just got back from the concert in Tampa. Neil Diamond has never been better. He went none stop for over two hours and delighted everyone with his songs, old and new! I have seen him before but, he sounded in rare form tonight! After all Tampa was where he gave his first performance thirty years ago.
This is the tour everyone should see. For a man his age he is wonderful!!!!!
Thank you,
Theresa Goodliffe
St. Petersburg, Florida


As you all know, Neil will be on the Rosie O'Donnell Show on 12/11/96. Rosie loves to sing and has many singers on her show. Recently she had Barry Manilow and Elton John. Barry got almost 20 minutes of show time and Elton over 28 minutes. Now, I realize that Barry may "write the songs" and that Elton is somewhat famous and has a nice following, but I think Neil outshines both of them combined. It would be very disappointing if Neil got less time than these two guys. I have been sending Rosie e-mail for quite some time now and have been really pushing Neil. I think that a "group effort" would help. She has a Home Page at "www.rosieo.com" and you can leave mail for Rosie. Please post this and let's push for "equal time" on the Rosie show. Thanks and best wishes to all.
Hal Dixon


Joe - I have been reading the reviews on Neil's Austin and Houston concerts and I have a few comments. I have been going to Diamond concerts since the mid-seventies and am a very loyal fan. I attended the Houston concert at the Summit two weeks ago and had very good seats, although with the "in the round" concept, there are no bad seats. This was not the best performance that I have seen --- I think the 80's performances were better --- but folks have to realize the strain of a 9 month concert schedule on the performer. I noticed a certain "stiffness" in the performance that has not been there before. I really think Neil is looking forward to the end of this grinding schedule......but like a true professional, he wants to please as many fans as possible.
All that aside, there is nothing like a Neil Diamond concert...even if it wasn't the best ever. I was able to take my 10 year old son, and his reaction to his first concert was worth the 200 mile drive and the price of admission. I only hope that I get another opportunity to see another performance in the future. Neil is still the best thing going....and I hope he keeps it up. Keep up the good work on the homepage....all the fans love it.
Ron Smith....Corpus Christi, Tx.


I was at the record store the day the set was released. Bought the tape and CD set. One for the house, one for my car. I have been a Diamond fan from the beginning. The set means so much to me. It represents my lifetime too. I was ten years old when I was bitten by the Diamond bug and have been a loyal fan ever since.
Each song on the album, representing different decades, touches a memory. I was glad the sond Blue Destiny was on this set, I saw the words in the Neil Diamond song book and always wanted to hear him sing it. I got my wish. I have a friend, who is also a Diamond fan, who is younger than me, I told her that the set will have more for me than her because I have been around for all thirty years. Any way just wanted to thank you for this page, and thank Neil for the last thirty years. I will be around for the next thirty also. Hope he comes back to Indy soon.
thanks again.
Teresa Knight


I attended my first Neil Diamond concert in Fort Worth, Texas on November 26 and was BLOWN AWAY. I can't wait to see him again. I took my mother and we both hated to see the concert end. The songs were a good mixture of old and new. I only wish he had done Red, Red Wine and I'm a Believer. I can't believe the Austin review said the mood was too serious. I thought Fort Worth was great. The entire audience was on their feet for many songs. I loved the round, revolving stage. I'm even more of a fan than I was before and can't wait until Neil does Texas again!!


So many have written and said that part of what keeps them loyal to Neil is the memories and happy ones that they associate with Neil and his music.
For me, it was the opposite -- it is a very stressful and scary memory that 'hooked' me on Neil Diamond. I had never liked him, especially in his long hair '70's days, though did like a couple of his songs. A good friend kept trying for years to get me to go see him and I wouldn't (sorry Neil, I should have) Finally another friend bought me one of his tapes and made me promise I would take it home and listen to it and then come into the office and tell her I didn't like Neil Diamond. Well, I did like the tape and began buying a few others.
In '91 I contracted cancer and was very sick and very despondent -- I was 55 and didn't care to live. I was given a copy of Neil's "Seagull" music and told to listen to it. That music alone gave me the courage and the determination to fight for my life. I listened to it all day for many weeks through radiation treatments, surgery and a whole lot more and I will forever be in debt to this man and his music for giving me back my life
I don't hold him on a pedestal; he has his faults and has made mistakes like all of us, but if you should per chance read this Neil, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Through your music you changed my outlook on life and made me realize how precious life is and what we must do with it. You and your music will always be a part of me.
Someone Who Cares

Vol 13: November 17, 1996
Hi Joe,
Saw Neil Diamond in concert last night for the 7th time, here in Denver. It was the best of all his concerts and I really can't put my finger on why. I just wanted to share that with you...one fan to another. His voice was clear, strong, he looked great and really knew how to play the audience (as usual). He did many of this older hits, which I think the audience prefered to some of the newer stuff. Everyone was up on their feet, clapping, singing and yelling for most of the 2 1/2 hour show, non-stop!....I'm quite exhausted today and my voice is scratchy. If any of your readers are contemplating going to his concert in their city, contemplate no more. It's worth it all the way!!!
Sincerely, Sylvia Boyle


Neils concert was wonderful, one of the best...I was able to take my mother this year, and we were able to get seats on the floor, my mother had never been to a concert before, so in preparing her I told her people love Neil and really get into him, they will be standing and dancing, her comment was Oh my goodness I would never do that...well needless to say less than 10 minutes into the concert she was in the aisle standing and clapping.....I have been a diehard fan for 20 years and feel this was one of his best concerts....my only complaint is it takes so long before he's back again....All I've got to say is Neil is incredible and keeps getting better, and what I wouldn't give to be Linda during one song....
Keep it up Neil Salt Lake loves you....... Teddy


Just saw Neil for the first time last night Don't ask me why it was the first time, cause I have always adored him. What a show, fantastic. He sings his heart out. I had heard from other women friends what a cute butt he has . . . .they were right. Great show.


Hi! I've been enjoying your page here for a couple of months now. I am a 48-soon-to-be-49-year-old grandmother of seven who loves Neil Diamond! I am having the best Saturday, sitting here on the Net listening to Neil's new box set, "IN MY LIFETIME". My local music/video place ordered it for me, and it came yesterday. It is just terrific!
Next Friday, Nov. 15, Neil is in concert down at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, OK, and I have two floor seventh row seats. This is my first time to see him live, and I am so excited! He was there I think three years ago, but I didn't know it in time before they sold out. My husband had such a hard time consoling me - he bought me one of those plush green frogs that rivets Christmas carols, and I named it "Neil Diamond". Every year "Neil" sits on my PC monitor and croaks carols to my whole office. I wonder how much the real thing would charge to sit up there for an hour. Too bad I can't afford it!
This time I caught Neil on the Letterman show in March, I think. When I heard that he was going on tour, I started calling the ticket office at Lloyd Noble right then at least once a month to check on a date. They kept telling me to try back in a month, so I did. Then when I got the Net, I found your page with the tour dates, and I knew he was supposed to come to Norman. The next time I called them I told them I had info that he was to be there, so they admitted there was a tentatve date. I kept checking, and when the tickets really went on sale, I took a day off from work, and sat at the telephone hitting "Redial" for 1 hour and 25 minutes until I got through. The lady laughed because she recognized me. So I am going, and one of the girls at my office said she thought she had better extabiish a fund to bail me out if I get arrested for going out of control.
Kay Ivy
Enid, Oklahoma


I stood in line after midnight for the ten o'clock 'on sale'...gig the next morning. I met some very interesting and devoted fans throughout the night. We were great friends by the morning. I have been a Neil fan since the early 70's....I still have the ticket from a Chicago 'debut' with Jackie DeShannon at the Arie Crown theater...It is framed and hanging on the wall...Neil has helped me through every step of my life...his music was always there for me...I have not seen him (I'm ashamed to say) since 1985...I moved from Chicago to Nashville that year and lost track of him...He never did a show in Nashville while I lived there...I moved to the Tampa Bay area in 93...I can't wait ...I ended up with second row....Never have I seen him any bigger than my thumb...Now I will have a stiff neck after the show...Poor me, huh?
Thanks for listening...MarionFLA


Dear Joe,
Congratulations on your site for us Neil Diamond fans. We here in the UK don't hear too much news about our hero - unfortunately during the 80's he seemed to slip right out of the media in Britain. However, he has many, many fans here and is still probably the most popular male vocalist over here.
Personally, I think Neil is one of the greatest singer-songwriters who ever lived. I am constantly suprised that, as far as I know, no up and coming singer-songwriter has ever cited Neil as an influence. My first intro to Neil came in 1972 or 73 (don't remember which) at the tender age of 8 years when I listened to my parents' copy of Hot August Night. What an album! Those songs still sound so good. Have you got a copy of this album on CD? It's crystal clear. I'm glad that Neil now seems to be basing his current live act on this set. I still get a frisson when he picks up that black guitar and rocks but he doesn't do it too often these days (2 or 3 songs per show).
Yes, like you and many other Diamond fans I have had to put up with jibes about being 'uncool' and told to 'get with it'. Some people genuinely seem to believe that Neil passed away long ago or faded into obscurity in the early 80's. To some extent I blame the record company for not pushing the artist. There is so much musical dross in the UK - the sort that stays around for a year or so then disappears.
Sure there are some things Neil has done that have made me wince - deciding to launch a comeback on British TV in the early 90's with a gravel-voiced live performance of 'Morning has Broken' on a teen-oriented chart show. Not a smart move and his performance was panned. He also appeared on a chat show with O.J. Simpson earlier this year and many critics questioned the wisdom of this. Neil was relegated to a brief interview and one song (Can Anybody Hear Me). Next morning, Britain's #1 T.V. critic (who is Jewish by the way) referred to him as 'Neil Sedaka'.
As both a performer and songwriter I believe that for all his phenomenal success and massive following, Neil is still under-rated. Why do the critics love to hate this guy? Surely 30 years in the business and a following to rival anyone in music must say something. Sad to say, I believe that Neil's ability and achievements will not fully be appreciated by the media until the great man departs (heaven forbid!) Meanwhile us enlightened people will continue to enjoy his music for a long-time to come.
My wife (who is from the Philippines) is now a Diamond fan and I'm sure our baby (who is due in December this year) will be too. (Believe me, that baby kicks like hell when we play Neil's music, especially Cracklin' Rosie.)
I believe there will come a time when us Diamond fans will have our day. The rest of the world will wake up to what we have known all along. I sense that Neil is emerging from the dark days of the 80's and a new generation will suddenly tune in. I would like to see Neil re-release some of his classic hits but do them in a contemporary way like Kentucky Woman on the Tennessee Moon album.


I continue to be amazed at the following Neil has acquired over the years... there are few entertainers that have fans passed on down through the family. I have been a fan of Neil since I was 16. And now at 41, I continue to marvel at his raw talent... and my 4 kids and my wife all love his music as well.
> I hear rumours of his retiring... well it would certainly be a sad day if it were to happen. But Neil has given us his legacy... and he will always have that special place in our hearts.
I hope one day to meet him to let him know how he has impacted my life and how much I appreciate his music... and his love of song... a gift that will last forever.


Good job on the Neil Diamond Home Page. I've been a Neil Diamond fan since I was 14 years old and now that I am 30 years old I've been wondering what is the fascination about this guy. My wife and I have seen him many times in concert, just recently we saw him in Australia (Sidney and Melbourne.) but our most memorable concert was L.A.. From the get go the crowd of 17000 stood up and danced all night long. Of all the concerts we've gone to around the world that was the only time we heard the song BE, from his Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Album, which was the highlight to me.
Anyways I'm getting of the track here, even though his last few albums haven't been blockbusters you have to wonder why the fans stay so loyal. Todays artists last a couple 2-5 years and then they are gone. But Neil keeps plugging along and the fans go to the concerts by the thousands. I've asked a number of my friends why they are so passionate about Neil's music (myself and my wife included.) and learned that its not so much the music but the memories that are attached to it. Whether you were visiting a girlfriend who lived miles away and listening to Neil all the time you were driving because it was the only tape you had or growing up in a family that listened to Neil all the time.
Whatever the memory, it is usually the one that we never forget and consider the best time of our life, that is when Neil Diamond became a part of us. On another topic, It would be interesting to find out if fans of Neil Diamond know who is (IAM) in Neil's song 'I am I said'. Clue: Check out your Holy Bible.
I'm wondering if you've heard anything about Neil doing a movie of himself. I just recently saw the movie 'To Gillian on her 37th birthday' and there were a couple of scenes, you'd swear the Peter Gallagher was Neil. Also there is another movie called short cuts and again Peter Gallagher looks like Neil. Check them out.
S Harald Kunstmann of Calgary

Vol 12: October 2, 1996
Joe:

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.......

Bob Ashton


I was at the Philadelphia concert on 9-28 when Neil sang , "In My Lifetime" for the first time. The first time I saw Neil in concert was 30 years ago. He was a young singer brought to a local dance pavilion at the Sans Souci Park near Wilkes Barre Pa. He was brought there by a local musician (Joe Nardone) who now owns several music stores.

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 guess you have heard by now that the folks at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse were treated to a really special surprise from Neil. He decided to show his adoring fans what style of shorts a superstar wears. He was wonderful!!!!!! The sound system had a glitch in it so Neil decided to entertain his fans in his own special way. Needless to say I thought it was his best concert ever.

I really enjoy this web page. Keep up the good work.

Gerry


From: "Carlos J. Ordás Rodríguez" (camaro01@sarenet.es)

Hi, Joe:

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.



Hi Joe,

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...

Kevin Lovett
Huntsville, Alabama


Dear Joe,

I read this article in the LA Times, I liked it and thought I would share it with you.
Fay

DEFENDING NEIL DIAMOND
While I understand that a critic's job is to criticize, I have to wonder if Mike Boehm has any understanding of Neil Diamond's appeal ("Diamond's Shining Moments" Aug 22).

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!


Joe,

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
From: Oliver
Subject: Neil Diamond Home Page

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.



From: Doran Tate Subject: Home Page/Anaheim Reviews Joe:

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.

Doran Tate


From: Cherychery
Subject: Neil Diamond
Dear Brad Kava,

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.

Claudia Orput


From: Newell A Metras
Subject: San Jose Concert

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.
Newell and Terry Metras


From: Susanedw2U
Subject: Fan Review-Aug 10, San Jose Arena
Neil Diamond gave the audience and his fans exactly what we wanted and expected--a lively, fun-filled time of clapping, dancing and those warm fuzzy feelings we get when he and his vocalist Linda Press sing, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".

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.

Susan Edwards
Author of: White Wind

Vol 10: August 13, 1996
From: Debrie555@aol.com
Subject: My Neil Obsession
Dear Joe-

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!



From: Sue Dietz
Subject: Neil Diamond - Seattle

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.

Susan Dietz


From: Melissa Rance
Subject: Neil Diamond Seattle Show

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
Subject: Seattle Concert
Dear Joe,

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.

Margaret Card

From: Phil Badalamenti
Subject: Neil's Portland show
Being a fan of Neil's for over 20 years now, and never seeing him in concert, made the July 30th performance in Portland, Oregon a definate highlight in my life. From the moment the lights went down to the final notes of Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show, I was totally mesmerized by the quality of the singer and his songs. The fact that Neil didn't have and doesn't need anyone to open the show for him didn't dampen my enthusiasm at all, for the man has the quality it takes to remain a superstar for years to come. For over two hours I sat through an emotional roller coaster ride, going from ballads to up-tempo numbers and back again, never once being bored enough to sway my attention.

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.

Phil Badalamenti
Vancouver, Washington

Vol 9: July 21, 1996
From: Jim Fletcher
Subject: Neil in the Hall of Fame
Hi Joe. A line in the Minneapolis review got me thinking. Neil should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Do you know how that happens? Is there something we fans could do to get the ball rolling? Perhaps someone in Internet-land would have an idea. What do you think?

Editiorial: Good Question, any ideas folks? How about a letter writing campaign? Anyone familiar with the process - who we should bombard with letters, etc???

Jim Fletcher

Subject: Neil Diamond's albums of the 80s
Dear Joe,
first of all thank you very much for your phantastic Neil Diamond Home Page - I am regularly visiting it and I check it out for news and updates almost every week. I have been a Neil Diamond fan for many, many years - indeed he sort of converted me to pop music because of the quality of his art ( I was more into classical music before). For what I particularly like and admire about Diamond is his ability as af songwriter and composer. He has written some songs that will always, as long as I live, stay with me, primarily because of their perfect tunes.

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,
Yours, Gebhard Loehr, Germany

From: Matt Tidmarsh
Subject: Super Diamond
Hi Joe,

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-

http://www.pwrnet.com/freepage/MATTPAGE/SUPERDIAMOND.HTM

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.
Thanks and I've REALLY enjoyed your site,

matt

From: Norm Dutot
Subject: Fargo Performance

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
Joe, I now have filled one of my lifelong dreams. Neil is WONDERFUL!!! I really did enjoy his show. How does he do it? He makes music beautiful to the ear. I will try again next year. You are correct--Tennessee Moon is not sooooooo country. I did enjoy that part also. His manners, his crew, his talent is perfection!!!!! They were sold out of T shirts, do you have any idea where I can get a shirt must be a small or med. I am sorry I could not get one. The one I liked was embroirded and said Neil Diamond on front. Thanks for your help earlier. Bonnie Morgan

Vol 8: July 2, 1996
From: Kevin Petry
Subject: Neil Diamond Concert Review - Pittsburgh, PA 6/24 & 25

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.

Kevin Petry

From: Claytoncle@aol.com
Subject: Neil's Cleveland Concert

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).

Jo Hudgins

From: Paul A. Ruppel
Subject: Neil Diamond set lists

Joe,
I got to see Neil twice last week and figured I'd send a note about the shows. I was at the second Pittsburgh show on June 25th and the second Cleveland show on the 28th. Both concerts were good, but he seemed to get into the Cleveland show a little more. One of the best spots was when he sang the line from "Play Me" that says, "I softly said, come take me." Screams from women drowned out the music prompting him to stop and have some fun. He called out, "Let's get serious here! We've just gotten started!" Everyone laughed while the band kept playing until he started up where he left off.

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
Hello Again
Solitary Man
Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon
Cherry, Cherry
Beautiful Noise
Play Me
September Morn
Longfellow Serenade (First night Pittsburgh only)
Can Anybody Hear Me
One Good Love
No Limit
Everybody
Marry Me
Forever In Blue Jeans
The Last Picasso (The band got to do solos on this, so it ended up being about 15 minutes)
Song Sung Blue
Soolaimon
Love On the Rocks
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End (not played in Pittsburgh)
Shilo
Holly, Holy
I Am...I Said
America
Encore:
Sweet Caroline
Cracklin' Rosie
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show

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.

Paul Ruppel
Pittsburgh, PA

From: Carol A. Loughlin
Subject: Opening Night in Boston
You think it's great, but it only gets better. We wondered how he could top the Christmas Tour. But he did. Had great seats, 4 row floor center, hardly sat down all night. The crowd was really "in to the concert" enjoying every chance they had to get up and dance and sing along. Looking forward to seeing him again in Oct. in NJ.

Subject: Letter to the editor
I am still enjoying "Tennessee Moon" a great deal. At this moment my favorite song is the duet with Rosemary Butler, "Like You" it is simply steamy! If this were the early 80's the song would be a solid number one on the pop charts ala Kenny Rogers's "Lady." I think "Marry Me" is a better song than "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."

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.

Daniel Torluemke