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Melissa B

Neil Diamond shows his age on the opening night of 50th anniversary tour – and it’s a great thing

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Neil Diamond shows his age on the opening night of 50th anniversary tour – and it’s a great thing

If Neil Diamond suffers from anything, it’s a catalog that is far too extensive to fit into a single one-night concert, even one that runs 25 songs and pushes two hours.

It’s not that his 50th Anniversary tour kick off (which played to a full, if not quite capacity crowd at Fresno’s Save Mart Center) wasn’t filled with hits. The set opened with “Cherry, Cherry” and “I’m a Believer” and ended with “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “America” and “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.” He played “Song Sung Blue” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and an extra-extended sing-along version of “Sweet Caroline” (because, of course).

But for those like myself, who grew up on (if not with) Diamond’s music, there was plenty that got left out. “Shilo,” for one, and “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” and “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime,” “Red, Red Wine.” You get the idea.

Of course, these are the thoughts you heading back out to the car after the show.

While he is on stage, Diamond is captivating, playing both side of the arena with a shuffle step and a smile and a gravely-voice “thank you” after every few songs. His movements are stiffer than they once were and while the voice is still unmistakably Neil Diamond (on the stellar “September Morn” for example), it has changed.

The songs have obviously been rearranged to accommodate the fact and the overall tempo of the show is slower than is might have been at Diamond’s 1970s heyday. That was totally obvious of the should-be rocker “Solitary Man.”

At 76, Diamond shows his age. Judging from the multitude of voices (both men and women) professing their love for the singer throughout the evening, both the man and his music have aged well.

More including the setlist here: http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/fresno-beehive/article143511854.html

 
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