Neil Diamond has not remained ‘cool’, in part because he never was never cool. ‘Cool’ is not, however, synonymous with ‘good’. Neil Diamond was, in his prime, the greatest songwriter since Mozart.
“Please be careful, as when Mr. Diamond takes to the stage there will be an abrupt dimming of the lights.”
The bizarre warning, spoken over the Entertainment Centre PA twice before the show begins, gives some indication of the kind of audience Neil Diamond attracts in 2015. The people here are in their sixties. The men have big bellies, chequered shirts, and beige slacks. The woman sitting in front of me turns around and scowls in disapproval, whenever I sing along. I am, by several decades, the youngest person here, surrounded by the Baby Boomers who turned off, tuned out, and stayed enrolled.
When Diamond takes the stage, the sold out Entertainment Centre is demure, even sour. Diamond doesn’t travel with an opening act, and its a long time before the audience gets warmed up. During show opener I’m a Believer, they sing along so apathetically as to seem agnostic.