Husky-voiced Neil Diamond's Coliseum show was like a rock
The Virginia Pilot
by Frank Roberts

Hampton Coliseum rocked on Sunday -- not with rock but with Neil Diamond, a seemingly eternal talent.

The concert began 20 minutes late, and even then, traffic was still backed up.

A line in one song asked, "Is anybody up there?" They were way up there. Diamond was playing to a sell-out crowd and sang for 2 hours straight.

The show was divided between some new offerings and his standards. The new releases received only polite applause. The oldies netted roars of approval. The singer said that in about a month the old favorites would be released in a box set. The set will include some items previously not released, including "In My Lifetime."

The audience's favorite was "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," a hit co-starring Barbra Streisand. His backup singer, Linda Press, filled in. The hits of yesterday are still the fans' favorites. "Forever in Blue Jeans" had them clapping, singing and dancing. "This building hold 12,000," Diamond said. "I can only see two not standing up." He sand the song again. "Song Song Blue" was sung by Diamond and his fans.

He saved most of the lights and drama for the end of the show. They were especially effective on "Soolaimon." Than and "Sweet Caroline" made the evening worthwhile.

Many of his songs, all of which he wrote, tend to sound alike, but Diamond's strong voice, charm and personality are what sells these presentations.

Another singer who performed on his national-release record "Tennessee Moon" was Waylon Jennings. They sang "One Good Love." Diamond mines the country gold on his new release which so far has netted no major hits.

The husky-voiced Diamond was accompanied by his 20-year band on a revolving stage in the round.

The bulk of the crowd was middle-aged and older but they were just as excited and wild as a group of teens at a rock concert. Indeed the building rocked. Diamond's show was a gem.

From one fan's point of view:

''It has been over eleven years since I last saw Neil in concert. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that Neil's dynamic energy has not diminished one bit. It was a dynamite show filled with old and new favorites from start to finish. The reviewer was right in his assessment that crowd was predominantly 40's plus and even 50's plus, and yes, we definitely did rock and roll. In the crowd sharing the rafters with me, one or two of the ballads drew a tear or two, but the high energy numbers soon had us on our feet clapping and stomping. As one 60-ish lady near me said, Oh, that man makes me feel young again!

Twenty-four hours later, I'm still soaring on the energy!''

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