Rockford Register Star


Singer Neil Diamond did more than set an attendance record Thursday night at his first MetroCentre concert. The pop superstar proved why he s America s top touring solo artist.

More than 9,200 people saw the entertaining show. The venue has a capacity of 10,000, but the Diamond crowd was larger than sold-out shows by other artists who have limited the sale of seats that would have put fans behind the stage.

Performing in the round on a trilevel, revolving stage, Diamond displayed 30 years of experience by giving fans two hours of hits and songs from an album just out this week The 57-year-old showed himself to be a great singer whose voice and meaningful songs still held up His fresh interpretations refute the peculiar belief generated by today s pop music stars that the best live performance is one that sounds "just like the record." The tenderness he showed on "Hello Again" and the bedroom tones he used on "Girl, You ll Be A Woman Soon" are just a couple examples of how Diamond often outdid his recordings.

Other hits he revived included "Cracklin Rosie," "You Don t Bring Me Flowers" and I AM...I Said, which was a highlight of the concert His sampling of material from his new album, ‘The Movie Album: As Time Goes By," should send many people to the record stores. He sang "Can t Help Falling in Love" and "I ve Got You Under My Skin," and did justice to these classic songs by the King of Rock ‘n Roll and Frank Sinatra, who Diamond called "the greatest singer of this century" In fact, Diamond often shook his pelvis like Elvis, and he took ownership of songs, the way Sinatra did. His show made for a night of memorable moments:

Most Patriotic Moment:
The crowd s wild response to Diamond's rendition of "America," which concluded with the unfurling of four huge American flags.

Most Romantic Moment:
During "Unchained Melody," when many couples snuggled a little closer.

Funniest Moment:
When Diamond said he would sing "Sweet Caroline" again, because there were four people in the front row who did not stand and sing along.

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