The Sunday Advertiser - December 1, 1996
Diamond delivers dynamic performance in Lafayette
by Druann Domangue
Entertainment Editor
The seats were rocking, the people were clapping and Neil Diamond was singing his love ballads. The packed house Saturday night at the Cajun-dome was in "Song Sung Blue" heaven.
Diamond's concert delivered everything that a fan could want: some snappy dialogue, flashy clothing and body movements, a relatively strong singing voice and a barrage of his old hits from the 70s and 80s such as "Cherry, Cherry," "Cracklin' Rosie," "Kentucky Woman," and "Play Me." Diamond opened his concert somewhat slowly with soft tunes such as "Hello Again" and "Solitary Man." But then he quickly changed the mood when he yelled out into the audience: "Anybody out there got the nerve?" He was challenging them to sing, clap and dance along to "Cherry, Cherry." The audience didn't need much prodding. One woman even did the swim to the beat of the tune. During the first refrain of "Play Me," when Diamond sang, "You are the sun, I am the moon, you are the words, I am the tune, play me," a thunderous scream tore through the arena.
Diamond didn't spend much time talking to the audience. Most of what he said was designed to elicit a specific response. He threw out all the typical Branson and Vegas stage antics such as blowing kisses and pointing to specific women, as well as taking grand bows.
But the audience loved it -- ham and all. Their reaction was probably best epitomized by a woman, dressed in white, who sat in one of the four front rows (the concert was in-the-round). Throughout the show, she kept her head tilted up and a little to the side. Wearing a small smile on her face, she sang along to almost all of his songs.
Whenever Diamond would switch to something off his latest release, "Tennessee Moon," the audience's energy level would perceptively sink. They obviously came for his old hits.
Diamond knew that, however, and delivered what they wanted; he also encouraged the audience to show their enthusiasm, egging everyone on to stand during "Forever In Blue Jeans." He even belted out an additional chorus but not before he had the audience begging for it.
With no opening act and no intermission, the crowd walked away happy with pure Neil Diamond as they've always loved him.
submitted by Iris Gerhardt

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