Neil Diamond: December 31, 2008
Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center
Notes: My then-boyfriend's parents got free tickets to this New Year's Eve show, so the four
of us went to it together. I'm not really a Neil Diamond fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I
figured hey, it's free, he's a legendary performer, and I did always like "America," so why not?
I also adored my boyfriend's parents and welcomed any opportunity to spend time with them.
It was fun and I'm glad I went! He is a good performer with a lot of charisma and seems to enjoy
his work onstage. His band is huge and looked like they enjoyed themselves during the show, which
is important. They've been playing together for 30 years, which is quite impressive! The sound mix
was good where we sat, although I could sometimes hear an echo during quieter moments, but that's
inevitable in a sports arena. The stage was not the revolving one I'd heard about. It was an
endstage, quite large with a slight slope to it. It had three rows of tracks, each with two
platforms on it that held sections of the band, and those platforms slowly moved back and forth
during portions of the show. The front edge of the stage had another platform that Neil sometimes
occupied, which also moved on a track along the edge of the stage, from the center to one side or
the other. The lighting was neat and colorful, and though we missed a direct view of the front of
the stage, there was a large video screen near our seats that gave us good views both closeup and
from the center back of the arena. Our seats were actually pretty decent. We were in line with the
front of the stage and about 20 rows up, on the side.
There was no opening act, and Neil performed for about two hours with just a short break for a change
of shirt. They dropped gold and silver balloons from the rafters during the last song, and we were out
of there by 10:30pm to ring in the New Year at midnight on our own.
(May 13, 2010 / January 5, 2009)