Neil Diamond's Coming to KeyArena July 23 (And He Should Be Revered On the Same Level As Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash)

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Holly Holy, Tuesday just got a whole lot better. Our old friend Ashley just dropped us a musical candy graham with word that Neil Diamond will be posting up at KeyArena with his greatest hits (it'll be a long night) on Monday, July 23, 2012. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster. If you've got to see the sequined one up close, I suggest getting your tickets early. Otherwise, the age-old strategy of strolling up to the gate for half-priced scalped tickets after a half-dozen beers at McMenamins should do the trick.

While we're all celebrating the news, I want to take a second to ask a quick question: Why isn't Diamond revered on the same level as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson in rock and pop circles?

Sure, your mom and her older sister LOVE the man. But by and large he gets no respect the way the aforementioned troubadours do.

Don't tell me it's got anything to do with the quality of his music. Willie Nelson, for all his virtues, has made some seriously crap albums in recent years (see this year's Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles, and 2006's Ryan Adams-produced Songbird).

And Nelson hasn't always been a treasured asset among the Sasquatch! set. Remember, Nelson was working Washington State's county fair circuit before a late-career hipster-embrace and tours of minor league stadiums with Bob Dylan thrust him into hallowed ground among, say, the Sasquatch! set.

I understand the roadblocks to embracing Diamond. I haven't always been a convert. And his sequin and other cheeseball moments can be grating. But those missteps are no reason to dismiss Diamond (or Paul McCartney, for that matter).

Neil Diamond deserves to be respected in his proper place: Among the finest songwriters and performers still performing and writing songs. I mean, come on, the man wrote "I'm a Believer"!

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