Posted in music | pictures on August 13, 2008

photos by Eric M. Townsend

Neil Diamond @ MSG

"The power of the Jewish Elvis can not be denied. One of the best entertainers in rock 'n' roll, a living legend and a must-see for anyone who's an avid convert goers began night one of his four stand tonight at Madison Square Garden. It's everything I ever wanted to see from the man -- heartfelt classics, crowd pleasures and soul stirring epics in a two-hour show. He just didn't wear those shimmery, reflective shirts.

Before you ask, show started at 8:20pm. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy the early bird special." [Music Snobbery]

Neil plays three more shows in the same venue this week (tickets). More pictures and the setlist from last night's show (August 12, 2008) below...

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Neil Diamond @ MSG

Aug 12, 2008 - Neil Diamond @ MSG, setlist

Holly Holy
Beautiful Noise
Street Life
Love on the Rocks
Play Me
Cherry Cherry
Thank the Lord for the Nighttime
Home Before Dark
Don't Go There
Pretty Amazing Grace
Crunchy Granola Suite
Done Too Soon
Brooklyn Roads
I Am, I Said
Solitary Man
Kentucky Woman
Forever in Blue Jeans
Sweet Caroline
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Song Sung Blue
I'm a Believer
Man of God
Hell Yeah
ENCORE: Cracklin' Rosie
America (TODAY!!!!!)
Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show
Bob Dylan played a show in Brooklyn on the same night.

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Comments (40)

jesus christ, i can't wait until tomorrow.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:57 PM

The highlight for me was "Brooklyn Roads".Neil and half the audience got teary eyed when he sang that.

"Hell Yeah" was actually more intense then on the album.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 4:04 PM

Anyone notice the camera crew filming from the stage and audience?Last night's show will probably be his first ever dvd concert.

Hot August Night 2 perhaps?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 4:28 PM

It was fun working on Neil's album...he's a great guy

Posted by Matt Sweeney | August 13, 2008 4:50 PM

Uh, it should be noted that Sweet Caroline was performed three times in a row. The entire song, then half the song again, then the chorus a couple more times. It was bananas.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 4:59 PM

"I grew up in Brooklyn before it became cool." Translated: "Before you little hipster shits ruined it."

Classic.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 5:02 PM

Funny shit from last night
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Divz-8MbG_Q


Love those two drunk idiots.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 5:22 PM

I'm telling you, you gotta see the show. It is HILARIOUS!!!!! Neil comes out with the "Neil Diamond Band" that has an average age of anywhere from 90 to 6 feet under. He wears this black blazer, black shirt (sequinced, of course) and glitter down the sides of his black pants. He comes out waving the guitar and then steps upon this little diamond at the front of the stage . . . little did I know that diamond rotated on a track along the front of the stage like some Neil-Mobile (as if he were the pope of pop). It's gotten to the point where Neil doesn't have to stroll the stage, he rides along from side to side like some bizarre duck-gallery duck meets Bernie (ala weekend at Bernie's).

Yet stroll he does. Often leaving the safe confines of the Neil-Mobile to glide around the stage to the point of disappearing for nearly the majority of Forever in Blue Jeans to serenade the 8 fans who thought it was a good idea to buy seats behind the stage (even Neil would lace into the absurdity of their seats by prefacing his exodus from 90% of the arena's sightlines with the comment "those people actually paid money for those seats").

Despite the total cheese (think Vermont meets Wisconsin) factor, the flashiness, the fact that the "band" looked like those robotic animals at a Showbiz Pizza singing the vocal equivalent of player-piano tunes, the fact that the number of breast implants of female fans was sadly matched by the number of teeth-implants from male fans, it was an absolute blast. Neil sounded amazing. His voice is so embellished at this point that his songs often sound like Charlton Heston (pre-dementia) doing a promo for the NRA challenging critics to pull that rifle "away from my cold, dead hand". Neil's dance moves are limited to an awkward non-hula hoop hula with an occasional jazz hands and what can only be described as a celestial bench-press as if he were a gymnast who just completed the vault lifting up his arms to complete the perfect 10.0 (4.0 from the Germans, still holding his Jewish faith against him). And, let's face it, when you got the Neil-Mobile, dancing becomes redundant (absent an oil leak on the main track).

The only negatives of the night are that: (1) the crowd was 100% LAME. I mean the dork behind me (in his 30s and with a girl I might add) actually asked if I could sit down during Forever in Blue Jeans; (2) Neil was so taken by the crowd reaction to Sweet Caroline that he finished, took an applause break, asked the band to do it "one more time" (to wit he did an additional chorus) AND THEN . . . did it . . . . A THIRD TIME. Making Neil Diamond the only artist to ever play-out his own song at his own concert. (note previous attempts by Outkast to do Hey Ya twice and the notorious EMF "Unbelieveable" incident of 1990 - still recovering from that one). Finally, as encores go, the song selection could not be beat (see set list above). And, yes, we all know an encore is coming despite the appearance that the "show is really over", kind of like we all know the magician isn't really sawing that blond stripper in half, but there is something wrong when the main act leaves his band on the stage to await his return for the encore. I mean, seriously, what were the options Neil "I'll either do an encore, or text the band to meet me at the next gig"???? The question was not if there would be an encore, but how long the band would have to stay there pretending "pack-up" their gear.

If you can, grab some cheap seats and catch him in one of the last 3 remaining shows. It was one of the funniest evenings I've had in a while.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 5:39 PM

Great show. Most impressive was Neil's voice - deep, strong, and clear. I could have listened to "I Am, I Said" three times in a row it was so powerful. One down point for me, though, was he got a little too into the God talk, particularly near the end. And the way the lights were flashing at the finale, combined with God talk, it felt like a weird parody of a tent revival. That aside, it was a lot of fun to see and hear a legend. What a brilliant songwriter and performer.

Posted by David | August 13, 2008 5:49 PM

Come on then Anon at 5:39. Tell us about the "notorious EMF "Unbelieveable" incident of 1990."

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:09 PM

5:39. That was the best review ever written. And having seen Neil, I can attest that it is totally accurate. Huzzah Neil!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:19 PM

i wanna party with you NEIL!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:47 PM

Good long setlist.

But no "Shilo when I was young,I used to call your name".

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:57 PM

5:39, fkkin great write up. Link please re: EMF. I'm too goddamned lazy to hunt it up.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2008 8:36 PM

5:39. Absolutely brilliant. The funniest comment I have ever read on BV. I am still crying.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:14 AM

Bravo to Anon 5:39. BV please hire this guy. The best thing I have read on here ever..

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:25 AM

I sat behind the stage courtesy of a free ticket because one of my friend's friends is an army nurse. I think pretty much every seat behind the stage in my section and sections around me was comped to policemen, firemen, EMS people, military, nurses, teachers, etc. Yet another reason to like Neil.

Posted by nycwhofan | August 14, 2008 7:14 AM

Why are we celebrating this mainstream hack? Do you really consider "Sweet Caroline" a great contribution to popular music? When does this argument for the greatness of "Mandy" start?

Posted by Lt. Slothrop | August 14, 2008 9:25 AM

Mandy?Bitch, please. No need to parade your ignorance here.

Diamond has been as influential figure in the history of rock music as anyone. Giving the corporate brill building sound a personal edge with songs like "Solitary Man" and "Shilo" before the singer songwriter movement happened.

Then when it did happen,Neil made some great confessional music that I would hardly call "mainstream hack":Brooklyn Roads,Stones,I am...I Said,Morningside,etc

Also,his last two album are great acoustic rock music on par with some of Dylan's recent work.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2008 12:26 PM

The show was fabulous; I love these pictures.

Posted by Ann W. | August 14, 2008 12:33 PM

I see 14th row center seats showing up on TMaster for tonight's show. For those who want to part with $270 for 2 tix...

Posted by drewo | August 14, 2008 2:26 PM

GREAT PHOTOS!!!!!!!!

I saw NEIL at Philly on August 9th. He never

disappoints me...a phenomenal entertainer!!

In 2002 he called my granddaughter up on stage to

sing GYBAWS to her...unforgettable!!

Posted by pat | August 14, 2008 3:51 PM

Great show last night.

No MIA sighting though.

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 9:52 AM

what's security like at MSG? do they search pockets or just bags? is it ok to bring a small camera?

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 10:46 AM

It is not bad.But there was this one supernerd security moron who kept busting people's balls about cameras and cellphones.It was pretty funny.

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 10:56 AM

One old security guard was actually snapping
pictures for some old women.He said "Smile,sexy ladies".It was the funniest thing.

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 11:02 AM

so... long story short... when I go in, they won't search my pockets and find a little digital camera?

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 2:59 PM

How long is the show at the garden? I have tix for tonights show. But a car service is picking me up. Is it over by 11pm?

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2008 3:29 PM

Hey Anonymous or anyone - I have a car service picking me up at 11pm after Saturday's show - what time did he finish last night?
thanks.

Posted by QUESTION | August 16, 2008 10:19 AM

I believe he was done by 10:30/10:45. An 11pm pick-up would be totally fine.

Posted by Anonymous | August 16, 2008 10:38 AM

I always wonder if "Hell Yeah" is not really about Johnny Cash and really about Brother Love himself. What a great fucking song. Huge!

Posted by Bleu Diamond Phillips | August 16, 2008 12:48 PM

Thanks Anonymous!

Posted by QUESTION | August 16, 2008 12:55 PM

Hell Yeah at MSG
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4FhtwB1pRcA

It might have been inspired by Johnny Cash,but Neil sang it with so much pain and emotion that it was hard not to get moved (ok-to tears a few times,I am a big pussy) by it.

My favorite part in the song is when Neil offers life advice to his "younger" fans. That is some heavy shit right there.

Posted by Anonymous | August 16, 2008 2:00 PM

Neil's Mom was sitting a few seats away from us last night at the final MSG show. She and her entourage were headed to the Bitter End (naturally) for the after-show party.

Posted by drewo | August 17, 2008 11:49 AM

I think I saw Danny Aiello there too - sitting not far from Neil's mom

Posted by Anonymous | August 17, 2008 4:30 PM

Was Neil's Mom in one of the first three rows?

Posted by Di | August 17, 2008 6:49 PM

Beste mensen,
Het was onze eerste keer in NYC. We wilden heel graag naar een concert en met name in Madison Square Garden. Madonna komt pas in oktober. Natuurlijk kennen we Neil Diamond. Het maakte ons niet uit... Het concert overtrof onze verwachtingen. Ga er gerust naar toe.. je hebt een leuke avond.

Posted by clara | August 24, 2008 6:03 PM

Glad I got to see Neil before he started to fall apart.

Ailing singer pledges refunds
Neil Diamond's offer called 'unprecedented'
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/life/stories/2008/08/27/1A_NEIL_DIAMOND_FOLO.ART_ART_08-27-08_A1_U5B58IP.html?sid=101

After a subpar performance Monday night in Value City Arena, Neil Diamond yesterday apologized and offered refunds to the 11,000 people who attended the concert.

"Dear Fans in Columbus," the singer said in a statement, "I haven't let you down before, and I won't let you down now. Until you hear from me again remember, You are the sun. I am the moon. You are the words. I am the tune. Forgive me. I love you. Neil."

Diamond, whose voice was extremely hoarse throughout the show, said yesterday that he is suffering from acute laryngitis. Ordered by doctors to rest his voice, he canceled his two other shows this week -- today in Green Bay, Wis., and Friday in St. Louis.

Posted by drewo | August 27, 2008 12:40 PM

Neil Diamond is without a doubt one of the greatest lyrcist performers of all time and is still around to sing about it. Easy to understand why he has lasted decade after decade...his tunes are timeless..His work ethic is unmatched and puts his heart and soul into his music. I'll see him in OKC on Oct. 19...Lord willing. Until then I will keep him in prayers concerning his health and welfare. The show must go on. What a trooper!

Posted by jordan04n | August 27, 2008 9:30 PM

The MSG shows were taped and = a concert special on CBS tonight.

Here is a fascinating clip of ND returning to his old Brooklyn apartment 50 years later,then playing I Am I Said live at MSG
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faTUApzuEhw&feature=fvsr

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2009 1:09 PM

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