December 01, 1999
Review: Diamond Again Shines In Omaha
BY JIM MINGE
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
A Diamond in the round. A sell-out audience of 10,043. It was repeat
rapture Tuesday night at the Civic Auditorium Arena, where veteran pop star
Neil Diamond performed.
The 58-year-old Diamond's nearly 2 1/2-hour, no-intermission concert fell
almost on the same day that he played Omaha in 1998. That, too, was in front
of a sell-out crowd.
Diamond obviously saw something he liked because the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born
singer returned for not one but two shows. His second show tonight also is
"We're happy to be back in Omaha," Diamond told his boisterous, adoring
fans. "You must have been one heck of an audience because we usually don't
come back for three or four years."
Dressed in familiar black pants and a sequined shirt, Diamond was the
consummate showman Tuesday, playing to his fans' desires with hit after hit:
"Hello Again," "If You Know What I Mean," "Solitary Man," "Shilo" and a big
crowd-pleaser for the females in attendance, 1972's "Play Me."
The Grammy Award-winning songwriter was backed by a nine-piece band,
including three percussionists. All of them surrounded Diamond on the
brightly lighted, rotating, in-the-round stage.
The most impressive aspect of Diamond's concert - both last year and
Tuesday - was the audience's zealous reaction after each number, and the way
Diamond fed off it by striking the familiar one-arm-in-the-air pose he made
famous in "The Jazz Singer" movie.
Clapping, stomping their feet, screaming, shouting, whistling - the full
house made plenty of noise. According to my hand-held Radio Shack digital
decibel reader, the applause after Diamond's 1979 hit "Forever In Blue Jeans"
reached 105 decibels. A Learjet takes off at about 100 decibels.
"America," from "The Jazz Singer" soundtrack, topped that level as four
U.S. flags dropped from the lighting rig above the stage to an ovation that
reached 110 decibels.
Fans got their $25- and $45-a-ticket's worth Tuesday, as Diamond sang
most of his popular tunes, such as "Love on The Rocks," "Song Sung Blue,"
"You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (a duet with his female backup singer) and "I Am
. . . I Said."
Diamond also offered a little holiday spice with a version of Mel Torme's
"The Christmas Song," as well as Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love."
While "America" might have drawn ear-to-ear grins and rang high on the
decibel meter, the night's show-stopper came before the extended encore,
which included "Cherry Cherry." The concert highlight was during the three
versions of "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)."
After Diamond sang a full version, he led the crowd through two more
impromptu takes, with the audience supplying the "whoa, whoa, whoa" and the
"so good, so good, so good" chorus parts, making the arena one super-size
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