Neil Diamond Spins a Warm, Cuddly World
Carrier Dome performance pleases the crowd.
The Syracuse Hearald America
By Mark Bialczak

Neil Diamond dropped his trousers at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night. Who said the old pop dog won't try new tricks?

There Diamond was, in the round but not too daringly close to being in the buff

Women in the know in the crowd of 28,000 called it a black body suit, a neat contraption that allows Diamond's performing shirt the appearance of always being tucked in.

In any regard, when a sound system glitch knocked out all of the vocals and instrumental amplification midway through Diamond's rendition of a song eerily titled, Can Anybody Hear Me, the 55-year-old singing veteran showed just how far he'll go to let the show go on.

In a Vaudevillian moment, Dimaond stood up on his stage pedestal and pulled down his pants. The already energetic women in the audience got more excited.

When somebody found the right plug to reconnect, Diamond sheepishly said, ''I guess I've done everything on stage now.''

He did everything right for his fans, anyhow.

And that means Diamond was the consummate Brooklyn aw-schuckster, posing in a gee-thanks mode after every song.

And he was con-prone too, selling his sneaky little tricks like starting Forever in Blue Jeans over because he spotted one guy in the crowd who hadn't stood up and danced the first time around.

But mostly he was an American icon, sharing his poetic pop wisdom with his slew of hits, a 29-song set in all. Solitary Man, Cherry Cherry, Play Me, Kentucky Woman, they were all in there.

On Song Sung Blue the Dome was a human wave of swaying arms. On Marry Me one woman shouted out ''I'll marry you, Neil,'' only to be sharply rebuffed by her friend's sly, ''Oh, she'll marry anybody.''

During America huge American flags dropped from the ceiling at the perfect patriotic moment.

What a warm, cuddly place Neil Diamond's world can be. Of course, there's the measure of artistic anguish, too, with I Am...I Said opening wounds for all to dab at with their ardor. ''And no one heard, not even the chair'' he sang in full hurt.

But he sure got over it quickly.

Diamond's slick band added to the polished perfection, and the maestro showed he was both a good boss and thoughtful showman during introductions. After each name rolled lovingly off Diamond's tongue, the musician got to stretch out on a solo.

And the fans, already told there would not be an intermission, got to take a potty break.

Hopefully, not too many people left their seats during the four-song stretch of new songs from Diamond's new disc, Tennessee Moon. Because, on the new material, Diamond shows that he's still a songwriter working hard to create new feelings.

The emotional Everybody was a gorgeous ballad co-written with his son Jessee. On No Limit, played with a trio instead of the full 9-piece outfit, Diamond sounded like an old rockabilly king getting some new kicks.

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