Neil Diamond played Erasmus High School (pics, setlist), announces 2015 tour including Barclays Center (dates)
photos by David Andrako
Neil Diamond @ Erasmus Hall High School 9/29/2014
Dennis and Jackie Beck, 66 and 64, traveled from western Pennsylvania. Ms. Beck said she had seen Mr. Diamond 10 times.
"It's not that many," she said. She sported a "Diamond Girl" shirt and said she was convinced that this concert at his old stamping grounds would be special.
"He's an emotional guy," she said.
A largely middle-age crowd of about 800 filled the wooden seats in the hot auditorium. Pictures of Barbra Streisand (class of '59) lined the walls.
There was no AC in the chapel at Flatbush, Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School and it was sticky hot as the crowd loudly sang along to Neil Diamond hit after Neil Diamond hit...from the Best Of CD they were playing before the man himself took the stage. Folks had been lined up outside since 3 PM for this somewhat secret free show and there were definitely a lot of neighborhood folks -- including many who had attended Erasmus back in the day -- and die-hard fans. When Neil did come out about 6:30 PM, after an introduction by radio DJ Scott Shannon, it was the expected thunderous applause (crowd member Geraldo Rivera also received a bit of that applause as he was taking his front row seat, just for being there and for being Geraldo). Instead of immediately launching into a song, Neil shared a few anecdotes about Erasmus which he attended from 1954-56, and this show was supposedly his first Brooklyn concert ever. He told stories about getting detention, his chorus teacher, and working as a shoeshine boy in a nearby subway station. "It's a good gig," said Diamond. "It doesn't go anywhere, but it's a good gig for a kid."
After that Neil knocked out a short set of hits, starting with "I'm a Believer," "Solitary Man," "Kentucky Woman," and, of course "Brooklyn Roads." Then a couple late '70s nuggets -- "Love on the Rocks" and "Forever in Blue Jeans" -- before the requisite new song, "Nothing But a Heartache" (from Melody Road, out next month). He finished up his set with another new one, "Something Blue," and then finished with showstopper "Sweet Caroline" which had the whole crowd singing. Well, almost. "I saw two people not singing," Neil told the crowd before proceeding to run through its chorus two more times. At 73, Diamond's voice is in great shape and he's ever the showman, with a band of pros who know how to punctuate the big moments -- nearly all the songs got the Vegas Ending. As it should be. Too short, but this free show in a very special location was a lot of fun. If you missed it, you can maybe catch the video if and when it's released. There was a very professional video crew capturing every moment. Channel 7 news, who said everyone who waited in line got in, also said the show was being filmed for a documentary. Everyone got a poster as they walked out.
Neil will be back in Brooklyn when his 2015 tour stops at Barclays Center on March 26. Tickets for what should be his 2nd-ever Brooklyn show, go on sale October 13 at 10 AM.
All dates, plus more pictures from the intimate Brooklyn show, below...
SETLIST: Neil Diamond @ Erasmus Hall High School 9/29/2014
1 I'm a Believer
3 Kentucky Woman
4 Brooklyn Roads
5 Love on the Rocks
6 Forever In Blue Jeans
7 Nothing But a Heartache
8 Something Blue
Neil Diamond - 2015 Tour Dates
2/27/2015 - Allentown, PA - PPL Center
3/4/2015 - London, ON - Budweiser Gardens*
3/7/2015 - Ottawa, ON - Canadian Tire Centre*
3/10/2015 - Providence, RI - Dunkin Donuts Center
3/13/2015 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
3/15/2015 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
3/18/2015 - Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center
3/20/2015 - Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
3/23/2015 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
3/26/2015 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
4/2/2015 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre*
4/4/2015 - Washington DC - Verizon Center
4/7/2015 - Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center
4/9/2015 - Milwaukee, WI - BMO Harris Bradley Center
4/12/2015 - St Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
4/14/2015 - Chicago, IL - United Center
4/17/2015 - Indianapolis, IN - Bankers Life Fieldhouse
4/19/2015 - Austin, TX - Frank Erwin Center
4/23/2015 - Mexico City, Mexico - Sports Palace
4/30/2015 - Saskatoon, SK - Credit Union Centre*
5/2/2015 - Calgary, AB - Scotiabank Saddledome*
5/5/2015 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Place*
5/7/2015 - Vancouver, BC - Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena*
5/10/2015 - Seattle, WA - KeyArena
5/12/2015 - San Jose, CA - SAP Center at San Jose
5/15/2015 - San Diego, CA - Valley View Casino Center
5/19/2015 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
5/26/2015 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
5/28/2015 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
5/31/2015 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center