November 5th, 2011
Hard to believe that Neil Diamond hasn’t performed in Hawaii for 35 years; he heads here for a show at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Blaisdell Arena and surely brings one of the richest and satisfying catalogues of music anyone can have.
Remember, he writes much of his own music; and he’s been at his game for 50 or so seasons.
At 70, he’s a legacy performer, one who doesn’t need a chart buster or a new album to fuel his tours. His legendary songbook contains some of the most memorable pop tunes for the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and because he’s never stopped performing these signature tunes, they remain fresh and relevant and vibrant.
So when my longtime show biz friends Marek Lieberberg and Ron Gibson mentioned that they’d be collaborating to stage Diamond in a rare and long overdue concert, I was thrilled. The last time was in November, 1976, and a lot’s happened in his creative life.
Clearly, Diamond is a gem who’s never lost his sparkle. As the saying goes, a Diamond is forever. As a film seductress once sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend;” Marilyn Monore may not have named him, but certainly, the tune could have had Neil Diamond in mind.
Like wine, he seems to get better with age. And with age, he’s worth a lot more now — because he’s still a top drawer ... one of the rare originals who remain active and enduring, right there alongside Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. Though he rocks, he’s better known as a balladeer of a belter, so there’s an expansive veneer of romance and amour associated with his music and his magic.
It’s been a while since a highly prolific entertainer, who’s managed to shift and adjust to the times, comes our way with a show that mirrors every facet of his marvelous talent. The thing is, his music is the foundation: classic, but updated with a measure augmented by the experience of life.
Diamond has created so many iconic tunes, so you’ll have to hope and pray he programs one of your faves: “Sweet Caroline,” “Solitary Man,” “America,” “You Don’t Send Me Flowers,” “Red, Red Wine,” “Cherry, Cherry,”
“I Am ... I Said,” “Touching You, Touching Me,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Play Me,” “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” “Hello, Again,” “Heartlight.” And the list goes on.
He arrives on our shores shortly after he is saluted as one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors awardees Dec. 4 for his life time achievement in show biz, a show that will be televised on PBS Dec. 27.
Tickets: $159, $99, $59, on sale at the Blaisdell box office, Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com and charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
If you've bought your tickets, what's your anticipation and thoughts of Diamond's homecoming here?