BEAUTIFUL NOISE TO DIAMOND'S LOYAL FANS

Review in The Independent

Neil Diamond seems to have been around nearly as long as the Eurovision, writes Eddie Cunningham.

For the 40,000 fans he described as among "the most loyal and enthusiastic" in the world there was no contest on Saturday night. Mr Beautiful Noise came first. Chilly Croke Park called for plenty of blood-warming audience participation and for the first 45 minutes the fans were seldom in their seats.

Songs from his new country-influenced 'Tennessee Moon' album didn't do much for them so they improvised with Mexican waves until he regained more familiar territory on his revolving stage.

He was in fine voice for the two hours and ten minutes but I would have liked less foot-stomping and more of the big, soulful ballads.


Subject: Evening Herald Review MR DIAMOND'S STILL A GEM

Neil Diamond
Croke Park

You can trawl out all the old cliches but there is one inescapable fact - this Diamond is forever.

Maybe his music is frivolous and light, even old-fashioned, but there is no argument against the enduring appeal of the man, as a captive audience of around 50,000 can testify to.

Diamond has a way with a tune, old songs and new songs, and he put them across with style for two solid hours, and without the comfort of an interval, proving once again that here is one of the real pros in the business.

Now over a divorce and a four-year songwriter's block, he has been able to come up with meaningful songs about matrimony such as Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon and One Good Home [sic], both from his latest album Tennessee Moon, [only One Good Love is] carrying a flavour of America's South.

But naturally his standards whipped the crowd into a frenzy and had them rockin' and rollin' in the aisles.

Who else but Neil Diamond could make classics sound like they were of recent vintage? And classics they are - Forever In Blue Jeans, Love on the Rocks, Beautiful Noise, Solitary Man, Sweet Caroline and You Don't Bring Me Flowers.

More of the same, Mr Diamond.

THOMAS MYLER


LEGEND LIVES ON FOR DIAMOND FANS

Irish Times Review of Concert
Neil Diamond
Croke Park
Kevin Courtney

The sun stayed out on Saturday evening, all the better to bounce its glare off pop's gruff Diamond, and 40,000 fans were happily dazzled. There was no warm-up act at Saturday's concert at Croke Park, so it was up to Neil Diamond to turn a cool May evening into a Hot August Night. However, though Diamond tried to cook up a storm during a two-hour set filled with everybody's favourite tunes, the cockles of the heart remained somewhat underdone.

The problem with a Neil Diamond extravaganza is that it leans too heavily on the weight of audience loyalty, staying smug in the knowledge that, since Diamond's oldest fans have been with him right into their middle-age, they're not about to leave him now. During the show, Diamond pays tribute to his faithful followers, but fails to lead them anywhere except down the same old blind nostalgia alley.

"Hey, we're gonna reach back and do a few oldies for ya!" he announces, perhaps forgetting that nearly all his songs have long ago qualified as classic hits. Diamond dons his black acoustic guitar for Solitary Man, then really ups his cool quotient with Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon, blowing Urge Overkill's version right off the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

After a double helping of Cherry Cherry and a stomping pedestrian Beautiful Noise, the moment arrives when Diamond must "do" his new album, Tennessee Moon, which he co-wrote with some of Nashville's top songwriters.

Soon, however, it's back to the hits, and Diamond gives us a version of Forever In Blue Jeans that seems to go on forever. Song Sung Blue brings everything back to simplicity, and if a campfire suddenly lit up on the central podium no one would have been surprised. Backing vocalist Linda Press joined Diamond on a duet of You Don't Bring Me Flowers, and, though her rendition lacked Streisand's diva factor, she at least earned her bouquet.

The lights came up at last for the homely and brave America, but the lasers didn't really pierce the waning daylight. Time to bring out the heavy artillery, so Diamond strafed the stadium with Sweet Caroline, then maintained his fire with Cracklin' Rosie.

The man with the rich, granite voice signed off with Hot August Night, [sic] a sort of Born To Run for middlebrows. No encore was forthcoming, so we sallied forth into the chilly May night, passing a nearby pub where the tuneless strains of Sweet Caroline came wafting out of a Karaoke machine.


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