Omaha, NE 7/24/2008

From the Omaha World-Herald - click here to visit their website!

Review: Crowd proves Diamond forever an Omaha favorite


There was at least one Kentucky woman in the crowd, as well as some sweet Carolines and maybe a cracklin' Rosie or two.


They were all there to see, hear and celebrate music legend Neil Diamond.

By the look and sound of the crowd, they were all jazzed about the "Jazz Singer."

The "Solitary Man" was far from alone at his concert Thursday night at the Qwest Center Omaha. More than 15,000 fans turned out for Diamond's nearly two-hour concert.

He's made it to town many times over the years, and the city seems to make an impression on the native New Yorker.

"Omaha, Nebraska. It's God's country!" he yelled after show openers "Holly Holy," "Beautiful Noise" and "Street Life."

Diamond was warm and chatty throughout the show. Early in the night, he shared with fans his amusement over seeing locals standing at a crosswalk waiting patiently for the light to change.

"There were no cars," Diamond said incredulously as the audience roared with laughter.

Before leading into a dramatic "Love on the Rocks," he told fans, "We're here tonight because that's what we do. We want to leave a piece of ourselves onstage tonight."

He left the crowd with plenty of dramatic hand gestures, fist pumps, sashaying and signature expressions ("c'mon now," "oh, yesss").

The crowd went wild over his baritone voice and old-school showmanship. Even at 67, he got the way to move them, Cherry. He got the way to groove them.

The spirited "Cherry, Cherry," which goes all the way back to 1966, was one of numerous classics that brought the arena alive with dancing, singing and cheering.

Adding an extra layer of razzle dazzle to the show was Diamond's 11-piece band and three female backup singers. Together they tore through such classics as "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime," "Song Sung Blue," "Play Me," "Forever in Blue Jeans," and the intensely personal "I Am . . . I Said."

From Diamond's latest release, the No. 1 album "Home Before Dark," he performed three songs, including the stark title track and a Latin-tinged version of "Pretty Amazing Grace."

While most of the audience stuck around to hear the new tunes and responded with warm applause, the biggest reaction was for the oldies.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Neil Diamond concert without "Sweet Caroline," which was accompanied by a crowd singalong with lots of "bah, bah, bah" and "so good, so good, so good."

For Diamond devotees Thursday night in Omaha, the concert was a good time indeed.

From the Omaha World-Herald - click here to visit their website!

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