Monday, May 12, 2008
Neil Diamond 1987
Over the years I've been admittedly a music snob when it comes to certain artists,ometimes justified...Christopher Cross, Air Supply, you know... One person I never appreciated was Neil Diamond. But in his case time proved my attitude unjustified. It is amazing for someone who wasn't a fan, I can sing so many of his hits. The "Jewish Elvis" as he was once known has proven a time-tested great singer and songwriter. Solitary Man, I'm a Believer, Cherry Cherry...lots of great song writing there; over 40 top-40 hits. He should get his due and be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sometime in the next few years.
But when I went to photograph him in concert in May 1987, 21 years ago, I wasn't a fan and I wasn't when I left either. In fact, I liked him even less because of how 'restrictive' his imposed photography limitations were. Unlike most shows where I showed up, shot three songs from the pit and left, his was different. I was 'required' to meet my 'handler' at the box office at the end of the first song. The show was ' in-the-round'. My "handler" then escorted me halfway down the isle (equidistant from the front and back and a long way from the stage) where I was required to kneel on one knee at the end of a row. I was 'allowed' to shoot 'one song only' from that spot while the 'handler' stood over me. I guess they had to be at the ready in case I bolted for the stage or something. When my one song ended (I wish I could remember what that song was) I was escorted back out the front door of the arena. Walking out, it was amazing to see the faces of all his fans, mostly women, looking with total adoration back to the stage.
He's got a new album out and still performs to legions of loving fans even though at 67 his voice is a weak imitation of the power he once had. Still, his true power is his song writing, his ability to create songs that people want, in fact can't help, sing. And it seems he's a genuinely nice guy. And also, though long before we met, I later learned that my wife was in the crowd that night too. See Neil Diamond and other muscians in concert at my website artmeripol.com