Few performers have been on tour for 50 years, and even fewer can play to sold out concerts filled with many who weren’t born 50 years ago. Neil Diamond has managed to accomplish both of these tasks during his 50th Anniversary Tour.
The main reason Diamond has grown new audiences and kept old ones is something that was unheard of all those years ago when he started: karaoke. The top barroom activity is loved by all ages and a quick internet search of the Top 10 Karaoke Songs of all time will almost always show you the Neil Diamond hit, “Sweet Caroline.”
“Sweet Caroline” was just one of the songs that brought the audience to their feet singing their hearts out at his Indianapolis, Indiana, concert celebrating 50 years of live performances. The 76-year-old has taken this tour around the country and around the world, hitting spots he previously missed, such as New Zealand.
Neil Diamond’s skills haven’t faltered in any way during his half-century of concerts. He can still sing in that distinct voice out as loud and strong as ever. He commands a presence on the stage as few ever have. Of those who have achieved that level of success, only a handful sustained it for 50 years.
Despite being close to 80, Diamond was able to make the (mostly female) audience swoon. He performed for two hours with only a short break while his band did an instrumental number.
While he sang, the video screens in the corners above the stage alternated between close-ups of Diamond performing and photos of years gone by. Included were some from Neil Leslie Diamond’s childhood at home, at play, and in school. They were appropriately paired with his song, “Brooklyn Rose.”
Diamond belted out many of his hits, including, “Crackin’ Rose,” “I am, I said,” “Play Me,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Love on the Rocks,” and “If You Know What I Mean.”
It was very much an audience participation event. Throughout the night he encouraged the audience to sing along and cheer, especially during “Red, Red Wine,” “Song Sung Blue,” and, of course, “Sweet Caroline.”
Diamond also received cheers when he sang “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” a hit duet he did with Barbra Streisand.
Along with all of the Neil Diamond hits everyone was aware of, there were also a few songs the audience forgot originally belonged to him, such as “I’m A Believer,” later recorded by The Monkees and Smash Mouth, and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” also done by The Hollies, Cher, and a number of others.
Neil Diamond fittingly finished his encores with one of his most popular songs, “America,” and a dedication that had the crowd cheering loudly for a beloved American performer. The crowd didn’t stop the applause until long after he left the stage.