Concert Reviews 1999
The Sheffield Star
March 3, 1999
Neil Diamond, Sheffield Arena
by Jack Quinn.
Neil Diamond has for many years been a composer of memorable music, the type of melodies
that, once heard, remain in the mind and keep recurring.
He grew up in a tough area of Brooklyn and got involved with the teenage
gangs who were, at that time, using zip guns. The shock of this made him
turn to poetry and music - a fortunate decision for he and all music lovers.
I will date myself by revealing that I was a teenager when the Jolson Story
was first shown in the cinema, and you had to queue for hours to get in. I'm
sure Neil Diamond won't mind being compared to the late Al, his voice and
music have the same magical effect that Jolson's had 50 years ago.
Neil - backed by a team of musicians who have worked with him for 20 years -
had the capacity audience enthralled with a stunning performance. When he
did evergreens like Song Sung Blue and Sweet Caroline, the crowd were in
full voice along with him.
Many of us older ones were transported back to our teenage years and went
into a frenzy when he did Cracklin' Rosie, his first British hit.
Another thing worthy of mention was the duet with Linda Press, the troupe's
only female member. When she and Neil got together for You Don't Bring Me
Flowers it was absolutely delightful. Great performance, excellent
entertainment: come back soon Neil.
The Sheffield Telegraph
Friday March 5th 1999
Neil Diamond, Arena
by Lesley Draper
Slightly older, slightly greyer and - dare I say it - with a hint of middleaged spread,
but the black diamond of pop is still in good voice.
He may be more of a crooner these days, but Diamond is the consummate
professional. His show is slick, the lighting dramatic and most of his nine
piece band have been with him for 20 years.
The man's charisma is so powerful that even non-devotees are drawn in. His
familiar revolving stage and in-the-round format help, but Diamond makes
even the Arena seem intimate.
The show is a variation on most of his others, with a few lesser-known
numbers and a lot of old favourites, including the inevitable Cracklin'
Rosie and Sweet Caroline.
And the man certainly gives value for money. Forget the trendy support acts,
followed by lengthy interval and all-too-fleeting show, Diamond was on stage
for well over two hours and still came bounding back for an encore.
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