My friend, William, sent me a video the other day entitled “Neil Diamond Goes Wild.” The clip is from a Neil Diamond TV special in which the crowd looks like it’s about to attack the stage because of its close proximity and how devoted to Diamond they are. It “Goes Wild” because Diamond is performing “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” and it looks like he’s about ready to speak in tongues at any second. He also has the crowd so under this thumb that it reminds me of a sermon Jerry Falwell or another evangelist would give to the needy thousands looking for salvation.
Very few artists can induce this kind of trance upon their listeners and, although I don’t exactly feel the need to throw my underwear at him, Neil Diamond has this musical-masochistic quality. By that, I mean that by no ways do I believe he’s a great songwriter, singer, actor, etc. but I still listen to his material on a pretty regular basis.
For instance, just the other day, I listened to Hot August Night II. The album has all the hits on it you’d ever want: “Cherry, Cherry,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Thank the Lord for the Night Time,” “Kentucky Woman.” And I absolutely love it. I know it’s not good, but I continue to listen to it in the same way that a masochistic enjoys hurting themselves even though they know it’s wrong.
Of course inflicting pain on yourself and Neil Diamond are rather far apart from one another, but I’m sure I can find plenty of people who disagree—and also give a comment about their ears being pain when hearing “Love on the Rocks” for the 357th time.
I mean, you’ve really got to love Neil Diamond in order to enjoy “Dry Your Eyes.” And, sadly, I do.