WHY I AM A FAN
Updated: Nov 24, 2019
Everybody has read one: a review deriding Neil Diamond as the “Frog King Of Rock” or the cheesiest purveyor of pop on the planet, he has been parodied on Saturday Night live and the keepers of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame didn’t think enough of Neil to put his name on the ballot, let alone induct him way too late in his career.
He got my vote, I’m a Believer in Neil Diamond, the naysayers can say what they like, that’s OK, Neil fascinates me because he connects with his fans like no other rock star, and his life is a compelling story of a shy, quiet loner, who overcame agonising self-doubts and insecurities to reign as the uncrowned king of pop for over five decades.
For me it has always been the songs, they grab you immediately, from the infectious sing along of Sweet Caroline, to the stark beauty of Play Me, and the self analysis of I Am ... I Said, Neil has a song for everyone, and for every mood, I can immerse myself in his music and never tire, unlike with many other artists, that is the uniqueness of Neil’s music, alongside all this is the man himself, self deprecating and humble, it is hard not to like him, his music has been the soundtrack of much of my life, where it connected with me early on, and still inspires me to this day.
I have been lucky to have been able to see Neil perform many times over, his concerts are like no other I have seen, they are not solely an evening’s entertainment, they are an event, Neil himself said, “That if you wanted to get to know a little about me, come to my show” and that is very true, Neil Diamond gives of himself, he gives his all, and sings and performs his lungs out, he loves being on stage, and is charming and graceful, I had the pleasure of meeting Neil briefly after a show at Birmingham’s NEC Arena, it was purely impulsive on my part, where I was fortunate to be seated directly adjacent the steps where he would leave the stage, as he passed my seat, I stood up and thrust my hand out in a handshake gesture, and uttered, “Great show Neil” to which he replied, “Thank you, we love coming to England, we have some of our greatest fans in England, and it is a joy to present our show to you, thank you again, and hope to see you at another of our performances”, I was astounded, stunned even, that this great legend of music, a man I had admired and supported for so many years, deigned to stop and speak to me, there were no superstar airs and graces, just a genuinely sincere man spending a brief time with a fan... me, that moment cemented the notion that my great appreciation of this man wasn’t wasted, a recognition by Neil Diamond himself of the part his fans have played in his huge success, that is why I am a believer in Neil Diamond.