Neil Diamond: One of the All-Time Greats!

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You can bet this concert wasn't in Canada.
Neil Diamond is a tremendous songwriter, with a string of undeniable hits, but he does have a tendency to over-sell it just a wee bit. There are only so many flags you can hang above a stage before they start looking like buzzards circling a man dying of thirst. Even Kid Rock probably draws the line at one giant flag.

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That's not the proper way to display the flag.
I mean, you either drape yourself in the flag, or you sit on the flag in a fringe jacket and smoke a cigarette. Most people choose just one. I happen to like the David Crosby thing he's got going here, but again there's just too much going on: the thoughtful hand on the face, the sitting sideways in the Spanish chair, the chest hair, the high-water bell-bottoms exposing the embroidered scrollwork on the boots. All that's missing is a cocktail, an astronaut's helmet, a sword and a python.

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Get 'em up there!
The one hand in the air is good, I admit. The finger testing the wind, or pointing up to God, or directing your attention to the lighting rig is even better. The gypsy shirt with the cartoon tambourines (?) might be stretching it but it's still working. The black guitar is rad. But the Dilbert boss hair, black satin pants and "guitarded" facial expression put the whole combo over the top into the realm of self-parody. Especially considering he's probably singing "Song Sung Blue." Black satin pants are not an appropriate choice for a forty-year-old balding person singing "Song Sung Blue".

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Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you!
And WHAT is going on here? This is perhaps his greatest record, a true classic, but what imaginary penis is he cradling in his hands? Who chose this picture, his sadomasochistic hypnotist hairstylist? Were the 70's such a different time that a man could choose a cover picture of himself somnambulantly fellating his own giant invisible member and still sell millions of records to screaming moms? I suppose so. Food for thought, actually. I might try the satin pants.

All kidding aside, he's one of the greats. Truly.

 
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