Sunday, January 4, 2009

Diamond in the Sky

He looked into my eyes and waved. Sorry, Hal, but if I were 30 years older, I’d throw my support bra at him. Not that there’s much to support...
I’m talking about The Jazz Singer. You know who I mean, and if you don’t, you’re really out of touch with white culture. Physically, he stands under 6 feet, but legend wise, he towers over them all. I dragged Hal to his concert because my Mama weaned me on Neil Diamond. My sister, poor girl, got named after a prostitute in one of his songs. My first concert at the tender age of 12, with Mama dear, was Neil, and even then, I knew all the words to all the songs. This ain’t no Raffi, friends, (but it ain’t far, either.)
Now, you might pretend you don’t know his songs. $20 says you do. He sings only what he writes, and he writes a lot. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and “I’m a Believer” rank among them. Maybe it isn’t his voice you’ve heard, but you know the songs anyway.
But here’s what I like most about a Neil Diamond concert. The crowds are, well, they’re just nice people. Several gentlemen sported suit coats, most of the women had sequins, and not a few of them wore skirts. Not thigh-showing, belly-toting skirts (thank the god of taste), but ensembles, probably from Talbots. Because this is not only a very nice crowd where you’ll sit next to people destined to be your best friends, but it’s also a very vanilla crowd. And by that I mean tapioca and milk toast and not even fake tanning vanilla. I hear that a black guy from Houston went to a Diamond concert this year, but my sister frequently hallucinates, so I wouldn’t place money on that bet.
A Coldplay crowd this is not. Even Sting appealed to a hipper group. But with all the concerts I’ve been to in my long, long life, I’ve never been to one where I left feeling so happy (and, as far as I can tell, there were no illicit drugs present. Prescription pills by the truckload, all properly applied I’m sure, but nothing smoked or inhaled or floating around in nebulous space to be shared by all concert-goers.) Unlike the Coldplay concert, there were no fights. Everyone smiled at everyone. And, as a front-row-behind-the-stage sitter, Neil looked right at me, in my eyes, smiled and waved. I swoon.


BlueSkiesBreaking said...

And wouldn't you know that apparently all of the men in the industrial sector of life seem to know that my name suggests prostitute. They must be on the same wavelength as Neil. Oh, and I did not hallucinate. I have pictures to prove that there was indeed a black man with me at the concert in Houston!

D said...

from Buttercup's mom:

Loved your post. The concert with Neal Diamond sounds a lot like the one we went to at the United Center with Celine Dion - years ago. Just good happy fun and neat people all around. Glad to know there are concerts like that still out there.

Tara said...

Your description sounds like an Elton John concert I went to back when I was in college. If I wasn't in Romania at the time, I totally would have gone to see Neil Diamond. I probably would have convinced my parents to go. Heck, they saw him in concert back when they were in college! My Mom didn't try to make me love Neil. I just do. I love that he writes his own music. So few "musicians" do that anymore. Vanilla may be a common flavor, but that's because it has a deep, down inside goodness that hardly anyone can resist forever. Just remember that no matter what happens, you can't cancel Neil Diamond!