by Joe Lindell
July 16, 1996
Neil Diamond still has it! Twenty-eight years after his first and only prior appearance in the Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN area, 25,000+ jammed the Fargodome for about two and a half hours of magic. As the lights dimmed, the show began with an impressive laser show. Diamond jumped into "Crunchy Granola Suite," a classic that brought the crowd to its feet.
Diamond's performance spanned through many years of hits. After noting the long hiatus between concerts in this area, Diamond said, "We have a lot of music to catch up on." Appropriately enough, "Hello Again" was the next song. The audience spanned a wide range of audiences, with middle age folk making up the majority, though everyone from small children to grandparents was represented. The older fans especially appreciated Diamond's retrospective performance of his early hits such as "Solitary Man," "Holly Holy," "Kentucky Woman," and "Soolaimon." Midway through the show, Diamond featured a sampling of songs from his new album, "Tennessee Moon," including "Can Anybody Hear Me?" "One Good Love", and "Everybody." Although the crowd wasn't too familiar with these tunes, they were quite appreciative anyway.
Perhaps the high point of the evening was after a rousing rendition of "Forever in Blue Jeans" Most of the audience had risen to their feet, save one unfortunate fan in the first row of one of floor sections. Diamond admonished him at first, but decided to give him, and the rest of the crowd a second chance to enjoy the song. The fan rose to his feet, and Diamond tore into a second, abbreviated version of "Blue Jeans." This time no one was sitting down.
"America" led into the final segment of the concert. Fans bolted to their feet at the first characteristic chords and remained standing for the remainder of the evening. Next, the most moving moment of the night was a stirring "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" with the lovely and talented Linda Press standing in for Barbara Streisand. Diamond closed with "Sweet Caroline" and "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show."