Diamond thrills audience with hit-filled performance
Monday, August 23, 1999
By GENE STOUT
POP MUSIC CRITIC
Don't be surprised if someone you know has sore hands and bruised shoulders this morning.
Your friend may have been at KeyArena last night, vigorously clapping and swaying to Neil Diamond's greatest hits.
Dressed in black slacks and a black, rhinestone-studded shirt, the emperor of pop delivered the first of two schmaltzy, high-powered shows -- filled with such hits as "Sweet Caroline," "Song Sung Blue" and "Cracklin' Rosie."
The music went 'round and 'round as Diamond strolled about a rotating circular stage at the center of KeyArena. Seated in the pit below was a nine-piece band, featuring two electric guitarists who hammed it up during a dueling spotlight performance. Diamond also showed off his guitar-playing skills on a special-edition Gibson acoustic bearing his name.
Looking healthy and fit, the 58-year-old star dedicated the show to "the home of Eddie Bauer and Starbucks." The audience spanned three generations, from Gen Xers to fans in their 50s and 60s.
Diamond's show included a segment devoted to his current album, "The Movie Album: As Time Goes By," a collection of blockbuster tunes from classic motion pictures. Among the selections was a tender "Can't Help Falling in Love," the Elvis Presley hit from "Blue Hawaii."
Diamond's own hits included "Love on the Rocks," "Play Me," "Shilo," "Forever in Blue Jeans" and a duet of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" with a background singer.
During "Sweet Caroline," it was the audience that joined in on background vocals.
Diamond's single encore included such songs as "Holly Holy" and a rousing "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show."
P-I pop music critic Gene Stout can be reached at 206-448-8383 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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