Neil Diamond: Radio 2 Electric Proms, Roundhouse, London
Monday 08 November 2010
"Girl if it lasts for an hour, that's all right/ We got all night/ To set the world right," hollers Neil Diamond, grinning.
Uplifting sauciness doesn't get any finer than "Cracklin' Rosie" and the singer's Electric Proms rendition is almost as exquisite as his live performance on Hot August Night; a double album from 1972 which features on its cover a sweaty, wild-haired and denim-clad Diamond, his hand hanging perilously close to his crotch. Here, the 69-year-old New Yorker is sweat free, neatly trimmed and dressed in black. He keeps his hands above board – indeed they're reaching out, touching me, touching you...
Diamond is best known, unfairly, for "Sweet Caroline", the end-of-wedding staple for the sozzled. However, "The Jewish Elvis" has an enviable back catalogue, most of which is performed tonight. He kicks off with a rousing "Beautiful Noise" and straight away you want him to lay on the cheese. All the Diamond devotees here want it. Come in, Diamond appears to be pleading, the water's beautiful.
Indeed everything appears to be "beautiful" to this generous performer. He tells us about his "beautiful band". They're not. Who cares? He tells us about "making love". It should make us a queasy. It doesn't, it just kick-starts the gorgeous "Play Me". He rattles off, in those sumptuously gravelly tones, "Hello Again", "Blue Jeans", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" and "Cherry Cherry". This is God's music. You can picture a tipsy Almighty, after a particular bad day, slipping on some Diamond, probably "Holly Holy" followed by "Solitary Man".
We're not treated to much material from Diamond's two successful Rick Rubin collaborations – we get "12 Songs" and "Home Before Dark" – but we do, unfortunately, get three covers (his latest, ill-judged record, Dreams, is a covers album) of "Love Song", "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Midnight Train to Georgia". A sparkly Lulu joins him for "The Boat That I Row" and "I'm a Fool for You" and Amy Macdonald is in impressive voice on "Shilo". But it feels like filler before the grand finale: "Cracklin' Rosie", "I Am... I Said", "Sweet Caroline" and, a special treat, the exquisite "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show". It's a barnstorming, emotional performance.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie: Jared Leto's now more petrifying when out of his Joker make-up
Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
The Girl in the Spider's Web, David Lagercrantz, review: Stieg Larsson's heroes return in a thrilling new intrigue
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs