Neil Diamond Goes Home For First and Last Live DVD
Posted on Aug 14th 2009 11:00AM by Steve BaltinComments (0)Neil Diamond is as any worthy of being the subject of a live DVD as anybody. The man’s built his more than four-decade career as much on his energetic and unabashedly crowd-pleasing live show, which has set attendance records around the world, as his brilliant songwriting. There’s one problem though: like many artists, Diamond doesn’t enjoy watching himself. “I don’t really like looking at myself. Really, all I see are the things I’m doing wrong and the things I would change,” he tells Spinner. “So I usually have other people look at that and say, ‘This is good,’ and I’ll look at it and grin and bear it.”
However, Diamond also admits the desire to do the live DVD has always been there. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never really had the nerve to do it, film an entire concert from beginning to end,” he says. “I usually will finish a tour and be regretful about not having filmed the show.”
Thankfully for the millions of his fans who’ve clamored for the experience and those who haven’t yet experienced Diamond live, he got over the hang-up long enough to record the Madison Square Garden shows on his recent ‘Home Before Dark’ tour. The result is his first live DVD and a CBS television special, premiering tonight, that captures the man live and also includes a moving documentary that follows Diamond home to his childhood apartment in Brooklyn.
Some of the most entertaining moments on the DVD come from watching Diamond interact with everyday people on the streets of Brooklyn, some who know him, and others who don’t have a clue that they’re talking to a rock legend. Despite his stature, that didn’t surprise the very humble singer/songwriter. “I didn’t expect that anybody would know me. Most of the people who live in this area that I grew up in are from the Caribbean and from Haiti and are immigrants, just like my family were years ago,” he says. “So I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t know me. I hoped that they at least knew a couple of my songs and I finally discovered one or two that they knew. But it was very nice. It was a great, very warm homecoming.”
Plus, the show allowed him to revisit the title ‘Hot August Night,’ a moniker fans will recognize from his famed 1972 live album recorded at L.A.’s Greek Theater. “There was something in the whole karma and whole vibe of the thing that I ended up in New York in August doing that show and filming that show,” he says.
And despite his very normal self-consciousness in watching himself perform, Diamond is glad he finally gave in and gave his fans a live memento. “I was not certain that I would like it and if I didn’t it would’ve ended up somewhere in my archives, never to be seen,” he says. “But I’m glad we did it.”
We are too, especially since he says this is likely a one-time thing. “This will probably be the final document of any of my shows. This is something you do once. And I think it was done well,” he says.