Neil Diamond

Munich, Germany Concert Reviews 1999

Abendzeitung, München

Together he’s inseparable (what a STUPID phrase!!!)

In Frank Sinatra’s Footsteps: Neil Diamond in the Olympia Hall

by Felicia Englmann

No one can keep their shape forever, but Neil Diamond can still move the masses! "America, Americaaa!" Neil Diamond belts it out with his deep, voluminous voice, one hand lifted in a big, audience-hugging gesture, and everybody would just love to hug him in this moment — and many others — of this evening. The start of his German tour in the Olympia Hall was a much celebrated event, even though the concert was not completely sold out. But the whole audience had brought along their hearts and the memories from their youth.

Ten years, the US singer said, had passed since he had been in Germany, and therefore there were many songs to make up for it now. He presents them as a consummate entertainer of the old school with a sparkling shirt and a constant smile. The stage in the middle of the arena is revolving so that everybody can look into the face of this nice gentlemen once in a while, for example when he is reviving his song "I’m a believer", originally written for the Monkees, or when he’s singing "Hello again" or dramatically performing the story of "Jonathan Seagull", using the full expressiveness of his voice. Only once in his two hour program, he takes a seat on a bar stool and sings Frank Sinatra‘s "Under my skin". This was more than paying homage to a colleague, it was a further step in his footsteps. Neil Diamond proved that those shoes fit.

 

 

 

Münchner Merkur

Neil Diamond‘s democratic Turns

A Tough of Las Vegas in Munich

by Nicole Mentz

The lights go off, the spot comes on. The Munich Olympia Hall experienced a touch of Las Vegas on Sunday night when a plain man strode through the rows in the audience, accompanied by fanfares, stepped on the stage in the middle of the arena, and accepted the first standing ovations — before even singing a single note. "What a beautiful noise!" Neil Diamond gave his first concert in Germany after ten years. Okay, his hair has become grey, he has a little paunch (which could not be hidden by the "diamond"-studded black outfit), and his knees are a little stiff. His movements were rather economical, but the stage was revolving. And as far as the interaction with the audience in the well-filled Olympia Hall was concerned, many a young colleague could learn from this master craftsman.

Without a mask and completely open-hearted, he waved to his fans in an affectionate way during his song "Hello again", and they thanked him with ecstatic enthusiasm. Even some hysterical screams could be heard when Diamond democratically spread his glances and gestures over the whole audience and the colorful play of the spotlights caressed the spectators. Bathed in blue, sometimes in red, then in pale pink or warm yellow, Diamond mixed heartbreaking songs such as "Girl, you'll be a woman", "Shilo" or "Play me" with rock songs like "Forever in blue jeans", "Cherry, cherry" and the patriotic "America", which made even the older people in the audience rock along. He was accompanied by his band that has been growing together for twenty years, and their experienced quality was only overshadowed by the poor sound control in the venue.

After some slow and a little shallow samples from his new "Movie Album", the master remarked that it was time for a few "old Diamond songs": "You do the shouting, I’ll do the singing", he encouraged his audience which really had its fling during "Song, song blue" and "Sweet Caroline". Wow, wow, wow.

 

 

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung, München

Neil Diamond:

Old Rock

by Edo Reents

It is always a touching moment when a big star strikes up his old hits and the audience applauds already at the first note, for a short time and not really loud, mainly to show the guy on stage that they know and love what he does, and that they don’t care if it might not be up to date to do that, and if it might not be a little too trite to celebrate something that you’ve heard a hundred times and that is still alive.

The end was coming close, and one could already fear that the big climax wouldn’t come, when the master took pity on the audience and started singing, in his incomparable, sentimental and whining way, how hard it was for him to be torn between two worlds, or rather shores, the American west coast and the east coast, between LA, where the sun shines all the time and life is easy and laid back, and New York, complaining "But I'm New York City born and raised", as if this was a terrible thing (some people would be glad to have been born or at least live in New York). The man on stage, dressed in black, was whining about his homelessness with the helpless grief of a man who cannot go on, who doesn’t even know what to say, who already falters when trying to tell people about himself and his emotions — and yet does not appear ridiculous at all: "I Am ... I Said".

Neil Diamond’s concert in the Olympia Hall, his first one in Germany after ten years, was a triumph one would not have thought possible for a crooner like him. It didn’t matter that other great songs such as "Beautiful Noise" or "Song Sung Blue" turned out to be only easy-listening tunes. Neil Diamond’s inimitable, grating, husky baritone was impeccable, that was the main thing. And this master of refined ballads who seemed very rested and fit, was able to limit himself to insinuations and didn’t have to play the youthful rocker. A little waggle with his hips, a little wiggle with the left leg was enough to wake the audience from the sweet tunes, and they knew: this is a rock concert; one for a mature audience though. Everything Neil Diamond and his nine impeccable musicians offered was very much aimed at the audience’s age.

 

 

 

TZ, München

Like thumbing through a photo album

Neil Diamond in the Olympia Hall

by Thorsten Naeser, LUX

You cannot deny his individual note. Neil Diamond’s unmistakable, husky voice which performs those theatrical, introspective tunes, has become even more brittle, but the typical tone is still there.

The evening with the man from New York who wrote pop history was like thumbing through a photo album -—with some surprises: What, he wrote that, too? Hit after hit, and even a movie music medley.

His best songs: those where the 54-year-old man sings the urban blues. Not the melodramatic tunes with their dance orchestra arrangements which fit his black shirt with the glitter on the back. Diamond has written many lively pop classics, for other people as well, and he performed some of them. "I'm A Believer", for example, a mega hit for the Monkees. That was when the concert got pepped up.

Apart from that, many quiet tunes, played without flaws but also without emotion, by an experienced band. The musicians were sitting on a revolving stage and passed by like the raw fish in London’s expensive sushi bars. His fans from old times, however, would have loved Neil Diamond without this fuss.

NOTE: German text of these reviews appears below.

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Fan Reviews

I'm Angelika from Vienna, Austria.
I have a comment on Neil's concert in Munich for you.

I'm 33 years of age and I'm a Neil Diamond fan for 20 years now but it had
never been possible for me to go to a concert. I live in Vienna, but Neil's
Europe tour '99 doesn't come to Austria.
When I read the tourdates from the concerts in Germany I decided to go to
Munich. At least once I wanted to see Neil live on stage. So I got me a
ticket (I was seated in the 6th row in the Arena Area, that's nearest to the
stage) and last friday I drove over to Munich.

To say in advance: the show was exiting, Neil's performance was fantastic,
the band was great. For me it was a real good evening and it was worth the
trip to Munich. I would surely do it again.

The first thing I was amazed about was the announcement of the hall speaker
who said, Neil would do the whole concert without a break. I had thought
that a man near to his sixties would slow down a little bit but I was
totally mistaken. The first glimpse I caught of Neil how he came up the
stairs to the stage for his entrance song "Beautiful Noise" made clear: Neil
is still full with energy and he really likes performing on stage with
contact to his audience! It took him a maximum of 2 minutes, then everyone
in the Olympiahalle was excited.

The stage was loacated in the center of the hall slowly spinning, with Neil
either standing in the middle or walking around the outer part of the stage.
After the introduction he started with some of his old rock'n'roll songs
like "Cherry Cherry" and the audience seemed to explode. Then came "Hello
again" and most people were standing, clapping their hands in enthusiasm,
singing along with Neil and his band.

Neil performed the best of his songs, he covered the whole range of his
music. Just to mention a few highlights: "I'm a believer", "Shilo",
"Brooklyn roads", "Solitary Man", "I am...I said", "Song sung blue", all the
songs from the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull, "Forever in blue jeans",
"Longfellow Serenade", "America" and "Love on the rocks" from the movie The
Jazz Singer. At about half time Neil said special thanks to his band for
accompanying him for 20 years and they played a "Sabres Dance", Neil sitting
besides listening to the fantastic solos of each member of his band.

Then Neil and Linda Press did "You don't bring me flowers" (the duet he
originally did with Barbra Streisand) together. It was terrific.

In the second half of the concert Neil performed a few songs from his new
record The Movie Album: "As time goes by", "Unchained melody" and "I've got
you under my skin".

When Neil started with "Sweet Caroline" the Olympiahalle seemed to explode
once again. When finished Neil said he wasn't satisfied with the audience.
We hadn't sung with him loud enough. So he started to teach how and when we
should do our singing. And then "Sweet Caroline" started again with Neil
singing the chorus and us doing the "oh-oh-oh" in between. It was fun for us
and it seemed to be fun as well for Neil and his band.

At the end of the concert Neil and his band did an extra encore "Holly Holy"
and "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show".

Almost 2 and a half hours Neil and his band did the best concert I've ever
been to.
And I promised to visit a Neil Diamond concert again as soon as possible.

I'd like to send a "hello" from Vienna to everyone who's a Neil Diamond fan
like I am.
Love, Angelika

PS: Anybody who'd like to send me an e-mail is welcome.
mailto:ap@casinos.at



Hi everybody!
I'm Walter, a 35-year-old guy from Austria (Vienna). It's almost for
twenty years that I've discovered how beautiful Neil Diamond-Songs are.
I remember
my school-time, when I bought my first albums, among them "Beautiful
noise".
And I remember one very special evening, when I listened for at least
one "romantic" hour just to the song "Signs" - dreaming of a
blond-haired girl instead of doing my homework.
And now - finally - I got the chance to see Neil Diamond live! For the
very first time ! Fortunately I had a look at your Homepage, otherwise I
would never have known about the concert in Munich at the Olympiahalle.
(Thanks for the information !!)And I can tell you, the show was simply
sensational !!
Neil with his tender voice, the marvellous band, the innovative round
stage,the perfect sound - clear and not too loud (no need for ohropax!)
- and the setlist of the songs.
He played all his great hits from Cherry Cherry up to Sweet Caroline and
Brother Love; and - some of the less known songs, among them "Do you
know what I mean", "Brooklyn Roads" and - "Longfellow Serenade"!
The only one I missed, was "I've been this way before". Well, will be
for another time.
Well, further more, Neil presented also some of the "movie-songs" and he
did them very well, but, nevertheless, me and probably most of the
audience would have preferred to get more real, original Neil
Diamond-songs. He
didn't do any song from the 1996 Tennessee Moon-album, no song out of
albums released during the past 15-20 years.
Nevertheless - the show was fantastic and I do hope to get another
chance to join one as soon as possible. Perhaps I'll have to go the
Ireland or
somewhere else, because in Central Europe Neil seems to do almost no
concerts. 10 years had to go by until his return to Germany. When will
be the next time ? Neil, c'mon, I think you forgot to fix shows in
Austria,Switzerland, Italy, perhaps in the east European Countries? Come
back to Central Europe ! Isn't there anything planned within the current
tour ?! Do not forget about your fans in good old - continental - Europe
!
Dear frieds, best wishes and - I'm happy about every reaction of other
Neil-fans anywhere !

Thanks,Walter


Newspaper Reviews (In German)

Abendzeitung, München

Gemeinsam ist er unzertrennlich

In den Fußstapfen von Frank Sinatra: Neil Diamond in der Olympiahalle

Von Felicia Englmann

Keinem bleibt seine Gestalt: Aber Neil Diamond hat's immer noch drauf, die Massen zu bewegen!

"America, Americaaa!" Neil Diamond schmettert es mit seiner tiefen, voluminösen Schmeichelstimme heraus, die eine Hand zur großen Geste der Publikumsumarmung ausgefahren, und alle würden ihm in diesem wie überhaupt in vielen Momenten dieses Abends gerne um den Hals fallen. Sein deutscher Tour-Auftakt in der Olympiahalle wurde heftig bejubelt, auch wenn einige Sitze freigeblieben waren. Aber wer gekommen war, hatte sein ganzes Herz und seine Jugenderinnerungen dabei.

Zehn Jahre, sagte der US-Sänger, sei er nicht in Deutschland gewesen, und deshalb gebe es nun viele Songs gemeinsam zu erleben. Er präsentiert sie als perfekter Entertainer der alten Schule mit Fönfrisur, Glitzerhemd und Dauerlächeln. Die Bühne in der Arenamitte ist ein Dauerkreisel unterm pastellfarbenen Scheinwerferhimmel, so daß jeder dem netten Herrn mal ins Gesicht sehen kann, wenn er etwa "I'm a Believer" auferstehen läßt, das er seinerzeit für die Monkees geschrieben hat, "Hello Again" einswingt oder dramatisch die mehrteilige "Story of Jonathan Seagull" singt, die volle Ausdruckskraft seiner Stimme nutzt. Einmal in seinem zwei Stunden Programm läßt er sich auf dem Barhocker nieder und gibt "Under My Skin" von Frank Sinatra. Und das war nicht nur Verbeugung vor dem Kollegen, sondern ein weiter(er) Schritt in dessen Fußstapfen. Daß ihm die Schuhe dafür passen, hat Neil Diamond bewiesen.

 

 

Münchner Merkur

Neil Diamonds demokratische Drehungen

Ein Hauch Las Vegas an der Isar

Von Nicole Mentz

Licht aus, Spot an. Ein Hauch von Las Vegas ging am Sonntagabend durch die Olympiahalle, als ein kleiner Mann von Fanfarenklängen begleitet die Zuschauerreihen durchsehreitet, die in der Mitte der Arena aufgebaute Bühne betritt und würdevoll die ersten Standing ovations entgegennimmt, noch bevor er einen Ton gesungen hat. "What a beautiful noise!" Neil Diamond gab in München sein erstes Deutschlandkonzert seit zehn Jahren.

Okay, die Schläfen sind ziemlich grau, das Bäuchlein etwas dick (worüber auch der mit "Diamonds" besetzte schwarze Dress nicht hinwegtäuschen konnte) und die Knie ein bisserl steif. Die Bewegungen waren eher sparsam, dafür drehte sich die Bühne. Und was das Spiel mit dem Publikum in der gut gefüllten Olympiahalle angeht, kann manch jüngerer Kollege noch eine Menge von Altmeister Neil Diamond lernen.

Ohne Maske und frei von Berührungsängsten winkte er seinen Fans mit dem Song "Hello again" liebevoll zu und sie dankten es ihm mit exstatischer Begeisterung. Selbst hysterische Schreie waren vereinzelt zu hören, wenn Diamond seine Blicke und Gesten demokratisch in alle Himmelsrichtungen der Halle verteilte und das farbenfrohe Spiel der Scheinwerfer die Zuschauer streichelte. Mal in Blau, mal in Rot, dann wieder in zartes Rosa oder warmes Gelb getaucht, variierte Diamond , seine herzzerreißenden Schnulzen wie "Girl, you'll be a woman", "Shilo" öder "Play me" mit verhältnismäßig rockigen Songs wie "Forever in blue jeans", "Cherry,cherry" und das patriotische "America", die auch reifere Hüften kräftig wippen ließen. Dabei begleitete ihn seine in 20 gemeinsamen Jahren gereifte Band, deren routinierte Qualität nur durch die teilweise katastrophale Aussteuerung der Hallentechnik getrübt wurde.

Nach einer etwas langsam und seicht geratenen Kostprobe aus seinem neuen "Movie Album" bemerkte der Meister, nun sei es wohl Zeit für ein paar "old Diamond songs": "Ihr dürft schreien, ich übernehme das Singen", ermutigte er sein Publikum, das sich schließlich bei "Song, song blue" und "Sweet Caroline" so richtig austoben durfte. Wow, wow, wow.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung, München

Neil Diamond:

Rock im Alter

Von Edo Reents

Es ist immer ein anrührender Moment, wenn ein großer Sänger seine alten Hits anstimmt und das Publikum schon beim ersten Takt applaudiert, ganz kurz und auch gar nicht mal laut, hauptsächlich bloß, um dem, der da auf der Bühne steht, zu verstehen zu geben, daß es kennt und liebt, was da jetzt kommt. Daß es ihm gleichgültig ist, ob das auch noch zeitgemäß und geschmackssicher ist, das gut zu finden, ob es nicht vielleicht doch zu banal ist, hier jetzt etwas abzufeiern, was man doch schon hundertmal gehört hat aber immer noch lebt.

Es ging bereits aufs Ende zu, und man konnte Angst kriegen, daß es nichts mehr würde mit dem ganz großen Kracher, da erbarmte sich der Meister und fing doch noch an, so unvergleichlich sentimental und wehleidig davon zu singen, wie schwer er es doch habe, hin- und hergerissen zwischen zwei Welten beziehungsweise Küsten, der amerikanischen West und der Ostküste, zwischen LA, wo immer die Sonne scheint und das Leben leicht und entspannt ist, und New York. Wie er dann so schmerzlich klagt: "But I'm New York City born and raised", so, als sei das ein Schicksal, dem man nicht entrinnen könne. (Manch einer wäre ja froh, in New York geboren oder wenigstens zu Hause zu sein.) Der schwarz gekleidete Mann auf der Bühne bejammerte auch am Sonntagabend seine Heimatlosigkeit mit der ratlosen Trauer eines Menschen, der nicht weiter, ja, nicht einmal weiß, was er sagen soll, der schon im Ansatz stockt bei dem Versuch, Auskunft zu geben über sich und seine Empfindungen und dabei keineswegs lächerlich wirkt: "I Am ... I Said".

Neil Diamonds Konzert in der Olympiahalle, das erste in Deutschland seit zehn Jahren, war ein Triumph, wie man ihn bei einem Schmalzsänger, der er am Ende ja doch ist, nicht für möglich gehalten hätte. Es machte nichts, däß weitere große Lieder wie "Beautiful Noise" oder "Song Sung Blue" vollends zu Easy-listening-Nummern gerieten. Neil Diamonds unnachahmlich raspelnder, belegter und so einschmeichelnder Bariton funktionierte tadellos, das war die Hauptsache. Und er, der äußerlich nun stark ins Haraldjuhnkehafte geht, aber einen erholten Eindruck machte, der Meister der raffiniert aufgebauten Balladen, er selbst konnte sich mit Andeutungen begnügen und hatte es nicht nötig, den berufsjugendlichen Rocker zu markieren. Ein leichtes Hüftwackeln, ein kurzes Wippen mit dem linken Bein reichte - und schon wurde man aus süßer Schlager-Seligkeit aufgescheucht und wußte: Dies ist ein Rockkonzert, wenn auch eines für gesetzte Leute. Sehr altersgemäß wirkte das alles, was Neil Diamond und seine neun makellos spielenden Begleitmusiker da boten.

 

TZ, München

Wie Blättern im Fotoalbum

Neil Diamond gastierte in der Olympiahalle

Von Thorsten Naeser, LUX

Die individuelle Note kann man ihm nicht absprechen. Neil Diamonds unverkennbare Raspelstimme, mit der er seine theatralischen, introspektiven Schlager singt, ist zwar noch brüchiger geworden, doch der typische Ton ist geblieben. Der Abend mit dem New Yorker, der Pop-Geschichte geschrieben hat, war wie ein Blättern im Fotoalbum. Mit einigen Überraschungen: Was, das ist auch von ihm? Hit auf Hit, und dann auch noch ein Filmmusik-Potpourri.

Seine besten Lieder: die, in denen der 54jährige urbanen Blues singt. Nicht die melodramatischen Schnulzen mit ihren Tanzorchester-Arrangements, zu denen sein schwarzes Hemd mit dem Flitter auf dem Rücken paßte. Diamond hat viele flotte Pop-Klassiker, auch für andere, geschrieben, von denen er einige sang. "I'm A Believer" zum Beispiel, den Mega-Hit für The Monkees. Da hatte das Konzert Pep.

Ansonsten viel Betuliches, von einer sehr routinierten Band fehler-, aber auch weitgehend emotionsfrei gespielt. Die Musiker drehten sich auf einer Art Karussell und zogen an einem vorbei wie der rohe Fisch in teuren Londoner Sushi-Bars. Seine Fans aus alten Zeiten hätten Neil Diamond aber auch ohne diesen Schnickschnack gefeiert.

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