Wow! What a show! Too bad Im not much of a writer, or Id do my own review. Nonetheless, the concert in Ft. Worth was outstanding. In my opininon, the best set list Neil has ever performed. Neil ended the show with Ive Been This Way Before, which is his greatest song of all time. Ive been waiting pretty much all my life to hear it in concert, and frankly, was about to lose hope - Neils performance practically brought me to tears. Incredible! Not only did the show also include all the usual hits, but Neil also brought back If You Know What I Mean (rarely heard in recent years) and a medley from Jonathan Livingston Seagull, among many others. Dont miss the show! --Joe
Veteran singer brings his pop songs to life
By Al Brumley / The Dallas Morning News
FORT WORTH - Neil Diamond rocks.
He always has, of course, in that odd, Van Morrison-meets-Engelbert Humperdinck kind of way.
But at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday night, he got the crowd into such a slobbering frenzy that you started feeling as if a middle-aged mosh pit might break out at any minute.
Maybe it shouldn't have been surprising, but it was anyway, if for no other reason than that Mr. Diamond is 57 years old, has become slightly swaybacked and was wearing a red sequined shirt and black slacks.
And then there was the setting. He performed "in the round" - on a rotating stage, no less - often a prescription for middle-of-the-road disaster.
But he seemed so happy to be there and so determined to make everyone have a rockin' good time that he made it impossible not to.
Something happens to his songs onstage. Mr. Diamond, Brill Building alumnus and a true king of the three-chord power drive, simply doesn't translate on vinyl - or CD, or whatever - as well as he does live.
Songs that you've heard thousands of times - even the unfortunate "Forever in Blue Jeans" - take on new life, have life breathed into them - you pick the cliche.
Somehow, even the Jonathan Livingston Seagull medley worked.
When, five songs into the show, Mr. Diamond announced that he had an urge for an oldie (Isn't pretty much everything an oldie, Neil?), it sounded like "Cherry, Cherry" was coming up. Instead, it was "I Thank the Lord for the Night Time," which pretty much IS "Cherry Cherry," as everyone could tell easily because "Cherry Cherry" came up next.
So there he was, rockin' along to that groovin' (three-chord) piano hook, singing, "Tell your mama, girl, I can't stay long," which, when Mr. Diamond writes and sings it, is a pop song. But when Bruce Springsteen came along a few years later and wrote and sang pretty much the same song in "Rosalita," it was called the future of rock 'n' roll. Go figure.
Mr. Diamond's only bad move was a medley from his upcoming The Movie Album, an ill-advised go at such standards as "Puttin' on the Ritz" and "As Time Goes By."
The sold-out crowd of 13,000 also had to put up with more glitches than usual, what with Friday's show being the first on his world tour.
During "Unchained Melody," so much white noise erupted that it sounded as though one of those lonely rivers was crashing through the auditorium.
But by the time Mr. Diamond had taken the crowd through "Cracklin' Rosie" for the fourth time, all was forgiven.
© 1998 The Dallas Morning News
By Dave Ferman
Star-Telegram Pop Music Critic
FORT WORTH -- Whether you love him or not, after seeing him onstage you have to admit that Neil Diamond is very good at what he does.
You want the umpteen hits that have poured out of the radio for umpteen years? You want 'em sung well? A well- oiled, responsive band, maybe? Crystal-clear sound, perhaps?
With Diamond, you get all of the above. Last night, while kicking off a third world tour at a packed Fort Worth Convention Center, the 57-year-old singer/songwriter drew from his bottomless catalog of hits, and for the most part he did a laudable job, singing well and working the in-the-round stage with ease.
There were, to be sure, a few opening-night problems, such as a glitch that found him inaudible for the beginning of the evening's first song, `Beautiful Noise,' and a horrible, unidentifiable sound that marred his cover of the Righteous Brothers' `Unchained Melody.' But hey, this was opening night, and Diamond and band played through the problems with poise.
Diamond had a few weak moments. On `Noise' and the second song, `Hello Again,' his voice sounded a bit too raspy. But he soon recovered, and by the fourth song, the big ballad `If You Know What I Mean,' he was just fine.
And from there he sailed -- through `Thank the Lord for the Night Time, Forever in Blue Jeans, Sweet Caroline,' a rollicking `Cherry, Cherry,' a nuanced `Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon,' and so on.
A midset five-song chunk from 1973's `Jonathan Livingston Seagull' slowed the pace and was a bit much -- I would have preferred `Lonely Looking Sky' and maybe one more -- but, still, he did all five well.
The show's only other down note was the selection of tunes from his upcoming two-CD set, `The Movie Album: As Time Goes By.' `As Time Goes By' and `The Windmills Of Your Mind' were decent enough but, to be blunt, Diamond cannot sing `I've Got You Under My Skin' as well as Frank Sinatra, `Unchained Melody' as well as the Righteous Brothers, and `Can't Help Falling in Love' nearly as well as Elvis Presley. He just can't.
Still, those were only three songs out of more than 20, and that's a pretty good batting average. Diamond remains a hard-working, personable live performer, a guy who delivers a dependable show that's both no-nonsense and entertaining even for those up in the nosebleed seats. And take a tip, youngsters: He may have done this for years and years, but he always appears genuinely happy and grateful to be onstage in front of an arena full of paying customers.
© 1998 The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
As you know, Neil kicked off his World Tour Friday, 10/23 in Fort Worth, TX.
As usual in FW, he played before 15,000 adoring fans (full house) ... and the show was the best I have seen since Hot August Night. Absolutely incredible. 2 hours, 10 min. On our feet, singing, clapping, shouting, crying .... for about 1.5 hours of that time .... and his voice was the best I have EVER heard him in concert ... beautifully tonal, resonant ... as usual...he played his audience masterfully ... did an arrangement of "Cracklin' Rosie" that had us on our feet for a full 15 min. ... stomping, cheering, singing "because we 'still' got all night, to set this world right"...then he would reprise the last 16 bars again & again..."we were almost perfect that time, so let's do it again..."
Also, as usual, I was utterly exhausted when the show was over. Of course, one is always sad when the show ends...you never want this man's love affair with his audience to end...
With me at the concert were a couple (friend's of wife), my wife, a colleague from the high school where I teach and my 16yo daughter Tiffany. Tiffany was in tears at the end of the show ... utterly shaken at the power of his performance and his last song of the evening "I've Been This Way Before". My colleague from work had not seen ND in concert since the early 80's...she also was in tears, saying "I have never seen an audience that adores a performer so much."
He did about 5 songs from his new 2-CD box set---"The Movie Album" ... due out Tuesday, 10/27...a local store here will have it on sale for $18.99 (American) ... an excellent price...his performance of "As Time Goes By" and "Unchained Melody" rendered wet eyes throughout the house...
I know you will be thrilled when he arrives in your area...
Hurst, Texas, USA
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