Diamond says 'Hello again' to
By EDWARD C. FENNELL
Five years ago, Neil Diamond sold out two shows at North Charleston
Coliseum and had the audiences clapping, stomping and singing along to his contagious
brand of "Beautiful Noise."
On Wednesday night, Diamond said "Hello Again," and as though not an hour had passed since those 1993 shows, he had an enthusiastic crowd believing once again that "good times never felt so good."
The graying but still energetic Diamond noted his earlier triumphs at the coliseum with a remark, "It's nice to say hello again to you all."
Diamond, who in the 1960s embarked on a singing career mainly because other artists were slow to record the many tunes he had penned, perhaps carried an even richer and more emotion-charged voice into the coliseum than was heard five years ago. And though the songs he sang Wednesday were mostly the same ones heard five years ago, there was no sign of disappointment from the audience.
Starting with "Beautiful Noise" and concluding with the revivalist "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," Diamond peppered the 2 1/2-hour nonstop show with lesser known material. Show segments included songs from "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," "The Jazz Singer" and tunes from his newest release, the "Movie Album."
The latter release features two CDs of melodies made famous in cinema, mainly by classic recording artists. Wednesday's concert set included, "As Time Goes By," "Unchained Melody" and some songs once carried by Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
The "Movie Album" expanded Diamond's already varied range of material, though it seemed to slow the pace of the show and make Diamond appear to be as out of place as an overpaid lounge singer.
But without an intermission, perhaps both Diamond and the audience needed the segment to freshen up for the rousing final pop/rock portion of the show.
Though he seemed distanced at times from his excellent nine-person backing band located on a rotating stage, Diamond was in total command of the crowd. His voice alone was capable of commanding a huge hall such as the coliseum, but he held the audience in his hands with frequent gestures and comments.
He interrupted the start of a song to respond to wishes of "Happy Hanukkah" from one group of fans. A young woman who carried an "I love Neil Damond" sign into the coliseum shrieked with joy when he pointed to it.
Diamond often extolled the audience to join in singing the songs, most of which were clearly on the tips of the tongues of those who came to see him. He had them dancing in the aisles as he belted out hits including, "Cracklin' Rosie," "Cherry Cherry," "Kentucky Woman," "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "Play Me." The latter tune seemed to strike a sensitive chord with the audience, which roared with each mentioning of the phrase.
Citing his grandparents as inspiration for the song, Diamond stirred the arena with "Coming To America," during which flags were unfurled from the ceiling.
Other than some lights and lasers, the flags were the only special effects engaged.
Diamond's personal stage electricity was more than enough.
Copyright 1998 The Post and Courier.
Neil Diamond took to the stage at the North Charleston Coliseum on
Wednesday night at 8:15 PM and didn't let the audience down. He began his show with
"Beautiful Noise" and for the next 21/2 hours serenaded the crowd with a look at
his 33 year career. He was unbelievable!! The highlight for me was "Shilo".
Neil's voice is still great and the rich baritone can still hit the high notes. I've been to every concert tour since 1980 and last night was no different than the others.
It was amazing to see senior citizens, baby boomers, twenty somethings and small children standing, clapping, dancing in the isles and beging for more. Neil didn't let them down. The crowd responded well to song's from "The Movie Album". We sang "Sweet Caroline" , "Forever In Blue Jeans" and "Song Sung Blue". Neil encouraged us to sing "Sweet Caroline" with him a second time but the crowd was with him without asking on the others.
It was truly an amazing concert and Neil's voice is truly like a diamond, FOREVER!
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