Neil Diamond, Arena Birmingham - review and pictures
He’s sold more than 135 million records worldwide since he began his career.
And now, 55 years later, Neil Diamond remains a global superstar with more stage presence and talent than many acts - modern or old - could ever hope to muster.
The 76-year-old Brooklyn-born icon showed no signs of slowing as he entertained a packed-out Birmingham Arena last night. For two hours, no less - without an intermission.
And throughout the party-like show, Neil barely came up for air between songs; giving stunning renditions of a huge array of his hits, such as Play Me and Song Sung Blue.
A charming, yet humble performer, Neil’s performance was heartfelt and passionate; something which was immediately visible when the music icon kicked off his show with 1966 hit Cherry, Cherry.
Singing before a huge, highly-talented backing band, Neil looked amazing too - and it was hard to believe his age as he ran through the set, hit after hit, moving to the beat alongside his backing singers and projecting his rich vocals across the arena.
The star even took time to come to each side of the stage, making sure all his fans got as good a look at him as possible - and waved to all each time he did. Huge screens either side of the stage also helped with this; particularly for those sat at the back.
Neil displayed wonderfully rich, warbling vocals on fan favourites 1980 hit Love On The Rocks and Forever In Blue Jeans.
What A Beautiful Noise, meanwhile, saw the whole venue rise; with fans clapping and singing along to the upbeat classic.
Last night’s show formed part of Neil’s 50th anniversary tour.
“When the tour first started, I dedicated this to the victims of the Manchester attack,” said Neil.
“I then had to include London in that dedication.
“And now, the worst mass shooting in history happens in Las Vegas.
“Now I dedicate this to them. Our hearts are with them.”
With that, the star launched into a beautiful, heartfelt performance of Dry Your Eyes.
Hits such as You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, I’m A Believer and Red, Red Wine (in the style of UB40’s hit cover) followed, before Neil treated the crowd to a stupendous performance of 1967 number Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon; made complete by Neil’s velvet-like vocals and stunning guitar solo from band member Richard Bennett.
In fact, the whole backing band were wonderful. Made up of Richard and his son Nick on guitars, two sisters on backing vocals (whose voices were simply tremendous), two keyboard players, one bassist, four on the brass section and two on drums; they were excellent from start to end, and provided the perfect backdrop for such a talented performer.
Hits such as I Am… I Said and Sweet Caroline came next, which saw the whole venue rise in a well-deserved standing ovation, which continued as Neil ended the show with a superb rendition of Cracklin’ Rosie and Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show.
“Brothers and sisters, children black and white, gay and straight, big and small - we are God’s children all,” said Neil, before disappearing down a hole in the middle of the stage.
If you missed last night’s wonderful show, Neil Diamond will play the Genting Arena tomorrow night.