Neil Diamond – Rogers Arena – July 24, 2017
This week Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour made a stop at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The arena was nearly sold out as the lights dimmed, a video montage played and the band took their places onstage, then the solitary man walked out to take centre stage before rapturous applause.
With a massive catalogue spanning the decades since his start songwriting in Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, the 2 hour setlist had something for everyone, touching on memories from all corners of his discography. Of course there was the requisite hits that had everyone singing and dancing. Cherry Cherry, Forever In Blue Jeans, Song Sung Blue, I Am…I Said, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (albiet without Barbra Streisand, instead a duet with Sax Player Larry Klimas). As well Red, Red, Wine and I’m A Believer made more famous by others reminded us of his songwriting skills. Capping off the night the encore was a sing-a-long as not a soul didn’t echo the ‘Ba Ba Baaas’ and ‘So Good So Good So Good” of Sweet Caroline to deafening effect, Cracklin’ Rosie lent more to the singing and Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show rounded out the set as the audience drifted out into the night humming to themselves any of the multitude of musical memories.
Even at 76 years old, Neil Diamond still makes performing seem effortless, while he may move a bit slower than he did 50 years ago, most of his audience probably has slowed down too. His 16 piece backing band has obviously been with him for decades as well even adding second generation players now. Individually and as a whole they make beautiful music as heard during their intros and the follow-up instrumental Jazz Time. The troupe together don’t seem to show any signs that this Beautiful Noise can’t continue for many more years.
Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour continues down the West Coast for the next two weeks then transfers to Europe for the Autumn.