Neil Diamond is one of my favorite singers from my younger years.
I happened to hear on the radio last Friday that he was going to be in Cleveland on his 50th anniversary tour. I forgot to mention it to Murray until Sunday.
I didn’t notice when it said he was coming. When Murray checked, it turned out it was this Tuesday. Murray was scheduled to work, and the price was higher than we liked. I forgot about it.
After I’d gone to bed for the evening, Murray got to work. Sarah said he was really excited about it.
“He kept coming in my room, whispering about it, even though there was no way you could hear with your door closed.”
He found a better price ticket, arranged so he could leave work early, found someone who could pick me up and meet him at the train station to save time, snuck out to buy the tickets before Drug-Mart closed for the evening, and left a note about it for me to find taped to my coffee cup when I got up in the morning.
We were on the highest level at THE Q, (home of the Cleveland Cavaliers), but Murray told me not to worry. “We can take the elevator.”
When we got off the train and were going into tower City, Murray saw that the lady walking in front of us was wearing a Neil Diamond T-shirt. He told her, “Ma’am, I know where you’re going.” She laughed.
Murray said almost everybody at the concert was our age or older.
But us older people sure made a lot of noise—clapping, cheering, whistling, singing along. Murray said the man on his other side spent most of the concert “chair dancing.”
Murray told me as we went in that he bet when Neil Diamond was twenty years old, he probably wouldn’t have believed that when he was seventy, he’d be able to fill a stadium with people for a concert. “He was probably just thinking ‘I hope I can make enough to pay the rent.’”
Neil Diamond was loud, filled with energy, singing strong, interacting with the audience, yelling. It took me a few minutes to stop wondering how a man who was in his 70s could still do that, but finally I was just able to enjoy it.
I’ve always just loved Neil Diamond’s sound, his voice, the flow and pull of the music. It’s still filled with as much emotion as always.
The sound quality up at the top was great, but I couldn’t understand all the words. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to understand what all the songs were talking about.
But the emotion, the pull, the draw of his music was still there. Most of the evening I wanted to cry, but also to smile, and laugh, and tap my feet.
He brought such good pictures to mind, of his family when he was growing up, of young people in love, of dreams, and pain, of beliefs. It again encouraged me to want to bring that kind of emotion to people with words.
Murray told me that at Ball Parks, when people sang “Sweet Caroline,” and it came to the part where it says, “Good times never seemed so good”, people always sang “so good, so good, so good,” and he was going to do that at the concert. I said that maybe people don’t do that at concerts, but he promised me he was going to. It was okay; everybody did. Murray said, “Me and twenty thousand other people.”
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