- 11 Oct 17
Pat Carty has a good time with the mighty Neil Diamond at the 3Arena
Sometimes you get lucky. The usher led me to my seat, which turned out to be in the very front row. Wouldn’t happen with The Rolling Stones of course, but I’m not complaining. The upshot of this is that a sharp looking gent, who “works for Mr. Diamond”, personally greets me. He lays down the law with regard to flash photography and approaching the stage before noticing my pen and notebook. “Oh”, he says through gritted teeth, “are you a writer?” Despite the multitude that would argue otherwise, I nod that I am. “Well”, he’s now practically grinding his perfect Californian molars to dust, “we’re happy to have you.”
With no support and, we’re warned, no intermission, Neil Diamond takes his place in front of the band to an absolutely thunderous reception. I briefly scoped out the crowd in the bar before hand, and tonight is a cross between a massive Christmas do, and the loudest hen party of all time. And I don’t mention this in any kind of snide way, these people are here for a good time, and the raucous response to every move and syllable would put the cool kids at The Arse Giraffes’ E.P. launch in Whelan’s to shame. This is what music is supposed to do to you; this is how you should react to it.
The video backdrop opens, of course, with a diamond that would put the Star of Africa to shame and mixes images of the man himself with cultural and political figures from the last fifty years before he kicks off proper with ‘In My Lifetime’, ‘Cherry, Cherry’, and ‘You Got Me’, sporting a fetching spangly trouser and jacket combo, although the jacket soon hits the floor, because this man means business. ‘Solitary Man’ is the first opportunity to really appreciate what great shape his voice is in. As Hot Press is pretty much sitting on the stage, we can actually hear his voice unamplified as he glides over to us. For a man of his mature years, it really is, as the actress said to the bishop, a magnificent instrument.