Jump to content
Linda M. Kelley

Ottaws reviews: Music Review: Back after seven years, Neil Diamond delivers again, at 74

Recommended Posts

Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen More from Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: March 7, 2015

 

neil-diamond-performs-during-his-neil-di

Neil Diamond performs during his Neil Diamond Tour 2015 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on March 07, 2015.

Jana Chytilova / Ottawa Citizen

Pop legend Neil Diamond delivered a bouquet of golden oldies to an audience of more than 8,000 nostalgia-seekers at the Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

 

 At 74, the multimillion-selling superstar hardly looked a day older than his last appearance in Ottawa seven long years ago. There was lightness in his step and he was in good shape vocally, his silky tenor soaring over the big, brassy 14-piece band that accompanied him. Backing singers, a horn section, multiple guitars and a pair of percussionists were among the skilled personnel who helped create the deliciously lush sound.

 

 On an elegantly lit multi-level stage, the ageless crooner performed for two hours straight without taking a break for an intermission. But he did pace himself, limiting his exertion with a string of mid-tempo ballads through the first half of the show.

 

 Performing in front of a princess-cut image of a diamond that flickered like a disco ball, the suave New Yorker stepped into the proceedings with the engaging Monkees hit, I’m A Believer, followed by the showy Desiree and the bittersweet Love On The Rocks, its emotional core laid bare in a howl of a saxophone solo.

 

 Although it was a well-paced concert that went off without a hitch, Diamond took a while to generate a palpable level of excitement among the older couples celebrating their Saturday date night.

 

Diamond cruised through the unctuous Hello Again, the shimmering Pretty Amazing Grace (from his 2008 album, Home Before Dark) and the harmonica-laden You Got To Me before starting to heat things up with the likes of Kentucky Woman, Solitary Man, Red Red Wine and Play Me.

 

A couple of unfamiliar songs from Diamond’s latest album, Melody Road, created a lull that sent some folks to the concourse in search of refreshments, while the extended round of band introductions during Cherry Cherry didn’t do much to get them back.

 

 But Diamond is a professional entertainer with decades of experience, and he has a not-so-secret combination of tunes that works to win over every crowd. On Saturday, the glow began with the booming Holly Holy, built through the melodramatic I Am … I Said and eventually swept through the encore, a chunk of tunes that tacked almost half an hour onto the show.

 

 While Cracklin’ Rosie made for an upbeat re-entrance, the song that everyone was waiting for was, of course, his 1969 nugget Sweet Caroline. Diamond may have thrown in a couple of other tunes, but the centrepiece of the encore — arguably the centrepiece of the entire show — was Sweet Caroline, extended as much as possible by the enthusiastic singing along of the whole audience. It made for a satisfying finish.

neil-diamond-performs-during-his-neil-di

Neil Diamond performs during his Neil Diamond Tour 2015 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Jana Chytilova / Ottawa Citizen

Jana Chytilova / Jana Chytilova neil-diamond-performs-during-his-neil-di

Neil Diamond performs during his Neil Diamond Tour 2015 at Canadian Tire Centre. Jana Chytilova / Ottawa Citizen

Jana Chytilova / Jana Chytilova neil-diamond-performs-during-his-neil-di

Neil Diamond performs during his Neil Diamond Tour 2015 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Jana Chytilova / Ottawa Citizen

Jana Chytilova / Jana Chytilova neil-diamond-performs-during-his-neil-di

Neil Diamond performs during his Neil Diamond Tour 2015 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Jana Chytilova/Ottawa Citizen

Link: http://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/music/music-review-back-after-seven-years-neil-diamond-delivers-again-at-74

 

It sounds like a good time was had by all.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another review from Ottawa:

 

They are believers those Diamond fans

By Aedan Helmer, Ottawa Sun

First posted: Saturday, March 07, 2015 11:43 PM EST

1322783127047_ORIGINAL.jpg?quality=80&si

Neil Diamond is coming to Toronto in June.

With a city suddenly boasting a fierce upcoming concert calendar, March came in like a lamb with Neil Diamond's intimate acoustic affair Saturday taking fans on a low-key stroll down memory lane.

 

With the Brooklyn-born singer's name in hot orange neon block letters, the man himself emerged through the sparkling heart of a disco ball projected on the backdrop, but the pomp and circumstance of the intro seemed ill-suited to the muted and mellow show that followed.

Decked in all-black, Diamond was all class as he strutted to centre stage with a point and a wink to his band -- a slick outfit featuring a four-piece horn section, two guitars, two keyboards, a rhythm section augmented by percussion and a pair of swaying backup singers.

 

The horns dug in and drove the opener, I'm a Believer, a song that made many a believer in Diamond's hitmaking abilities, and made a band out of The Monkees.

 

But just as that Tin Pan Alley-era hit was for his career, the song was just the starting point for the evening, as Diamond took a meandering route through the many twists and turns his career offered.

 

Diamond wasn't content to simply cue up a greatest hits package -- his most cherished singalongs like Cracklin' Rosie, Sweet Caroline and America were reserved for the encore -- the venerable 74-year-old preferring a less travelled path through his immense back catalogue.

 

Desiree rocked gently, and Diamond was downright subdued for the laidback lounge of Love on the Rocks and Hello Again from his 1980 Hollywood foray The Jazz Singer.

 

Pretty Amazing Grace, from 2008's Home Before Dark, took on a Mediterranean feel with percussion touches and splashes of accordion, and Diamond finally got a few of the fans out of their seats on a Memphis soul-inspired rendition of You Got to Me.

 

"I don't know about you, but I'm in the mood to sing. I'm in the mood to sing and dance," he said, ditching his jacket for a shiny black ensemble while a wailing harmonica introduced You Got to Me, with its brassy horn punches and fine flourishes from his backup singers managing to coax a few of the 8,000 fans out of the seats.

 

Kentucky Woman kept people moving, with Diamond reaching for his trademark jet-black acoustic.

But after folks sat back down again for Solitary Man, he tried one last time.

 

"I love to sing and play guitar, but if there's one thing I really love it's to d-a-n-c-e," Diamond literally spelling it out for them while a funky organ ushered in Red Red Wine.

 

Borrowing the reggae bounce from the famous cover version of his 1967 tune, Diamond finally managed to get fans to their feet.

 

But things slowed considerably when Diamond asked fans to indulge him -- "If you will allow us..." -- in a trio of new tunes from last year's Melody Road.

 

He waxed nostalgic during a lengthy aside, where he recalled "the simple life" he lived back in Brooklyn, as home movies and old family photos projected behind him through the opening strains of Brooklyn Roads.

 

"It hasn't changed that much," said Diamond, then introduced Nothing But a Heartache by saying, "A little bit of heartache is okay once in a while, it's good to get it out of your system." Forever in Blue Jeans reminded fans to dance, and Cherry Cherry kept the good mood going, but casual fans would have to endure another low-key detour or two before Diamond finally indulged them with a string of singalongs for the encore, with his name-making Cracklin' Rosie, Sweet Caroline, America and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.

 

Link: http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/03/07/they-are-believers-those-diamond-fans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Melissa, Nothing to be sorry about - good minds think alike???  The fact is it's up there for all to see!!!

 

Melissa,   Having respect to you as Admin. I'll hold off for a while after his next concert until I see if you have posted so there will be no conflicts.  See what happens when I finally learn from my mistakes I get to be a showoff????  Don't take that too seriously I'm really not  a showoff I'm just throwing out some humor after what has been a long Winter???? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Melissa,   Having respect to you as Admin. I'll hold off for a while after his next concert until I see if you have posted so there will be no conflicts.  See what happens when I finally learn from my mistakes I get to be a showoff????  Don't take that too seriously I'm really not  a showoff I'm just throwing out some humor after what has been a long Winter???? 

 

No, please don't!  I happened to have time this morning, but usually don't and was afraid it would be missed. 

 

Go ahead.  Show your stuff! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×