Newer Review (I think this one saw the same show we did!)
August 9 2002 at 11:46 AM
from IP address 22.214.171.124
I'm still working on the newsletter and came across this review. I'm sure it has been hashed and rehashed here before, but it struck me as worthy of a rerun. It's one of the best I've ever read.
Sunday Mail - July 14, 2002
Sparkling gig from a true gem
IíVE awarded Neil Diamond a five-star rating ó but to be honest, a mere five stars doesnít begin to convey how good this guy is.
Over the years, Iíve been to many shows at the SECC. But the memory of this one will live with me for a long time.
I know Iíll get pelters from some readers ó saying how can you rave about punk groups such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or The Strokes one minute then enthuse about such a middle-of-the-road act as Neil Diamond?
The answer is simple. Diamond is a class act who fully deserves his superstar tag.
The opening was stunning. With the stage screened by a massive Stars And Stripes, Diamond appeared through a trapdoor and launched into a powerful version of America.
Barely pausing for breath, he stormed through Mission Of Love, then skillfully slowed the tempo on hit ballads Hello Again and Love On The Rocks.
His versatile 17-piece band ó including brass and strings sections ó was brilliant. But their playing never detracted from the most potent instrument of all ó Diamondís deep, textured vocals.
Now 62, the superstar could easily hide behind the bandís inspired arrangements or his female backing singers to paper over any cracks. Truth is, there werenít any. He drifts effortless from Cherry Cherry rocks out on Iím A Believer óthe hit he penned for The Monkees in 1967 ó then brings the crowd to their feet with a show-stopping, If You Know What I Mean.
The latter is a tough song to sing for a performer of any age. But Diamondís voice is faultless.
At times, itís the Las Vegas performer who shines through, with sugary sweet song introductions and anecdotes. Heís an American. They do that kind of thing. What did you expect?
The last section of his two and a half hour show was magnificent. Two numbers ó I Havenít Played This Song In Years and The Best Part Of Me ó from his latest album, Three Chord Opera, were clear indication he can still write great songs.
He delivered note perfect versions of Forever In Blue Jeans, an outstanding Holly Holy and Sweet Caroline. He softened the audience up further with You Donít Bring Me Flowers, with backing vocalist Linda Press beautifully performing the Barbra Streisand parts.
Then Diamond slayed the SECC with the epic I Am I Said, Crackliní Rosie and Brother Loveís Travelling Salvation Show.
Heís the consumate professional. The voice is still strong. And like the man himself, his string of hits havenít aged a bit. Yes, Diamond is still a gem, and with a priceless talent.