I was blessed to attend Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour stop in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Vivint Arena recently. Neil Diamond is one of the only artist that can make a 19,000 plus venue feel like an intimate gathering. He came out with a full band that also included his background singers Julia and Maxine Waters. Behind Diamond was an actual Diamond LCD screen that showed his career highlights and different scenes depending on the songs. He started his performance with the song “Cherry, Cherry” playing guitar on a song which is considered Diamond’s first big hit and had reached number six on the Billboard Charts. He followed that up with the harmonica backed “You Got to Me” which is one of my personal favorite Neil Diamond songs where he talks about falling in love which was released on his second album Just For You in 1967 and eventually reached number number 18 on the billboard charts. After this song he thanked the lovely people of Salt Lake City and said “I played this city for the first time in October 1969 which is about 48 years ago and asked are we ready to party again” as the crowd roared and went into a song off his thirteenth albumin called “September Morn” a touching song where he recounts a childhood love story while clouds played on the LCD screen, an emotional song and ended it tapping his heart and extended his hand in appreciation of the crowd. Neil Diamond then performed his song “Novella Serenade” and followed that up with “Love on the Rocks” a Golden Globe Award Winning Song from the film Jazz Singer. He than said “it’s tough being a man in this world today because the world asked you to be vulnerable and your not gonna do that because your a man. This song defies me to be vulnerable” and went into “Play Me” which is a very romantic song which features some of the most memorable lyrics in musical history “You are the sun, I am the moon, / You are the words, I am the tune, / Play me.” After performing that song and and erupting applause Neil Diamond stated “I’m going to get spoiled. Here is a song I wrote in 1976 in a hotel room with my daughters trying to get my music heard” going into his song “Beautiful Noise” which is a song he wrote to convince producer Robbie Robertson the guitarist with The Band to produce his album, Robbie Robertson went on to produce the album and this song became the title track. Neil Diamond then stated “I was born and raised in Brooklyn, Ny surrounded by friends and family but you had to be careful when you stepped outside because you might get into bad trouble” and went into his song “Jungle TIme”. The kid from Brooklyn who attended Abraham Lincoln High School which has birth successful alumni such as Harvey Keitel and Louis Gossett Jr. has set the standard for a musical career. This may have been many Salt Lake City Residents last opportunity to see Neil Diamond who is 76 years old. He still has upcoming tour dates and I would highly recommend that if Neil Diamond is coming to a city near you that you check out his show, you can find out on his website http://www.neildiamond.com/tour/. Very few artists have the endurance and stamina to perform sets like this and witnessing Neil do this nearing 80 years old is absolutely a sight to see. Also the catalogue of music that he has is incomparable. Neil Diamond is the standard that musicians should strive for.