Neil Diamond Surprises Firefighters With Performance

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Diamond at the Lake Christine incident command post, July 27, 2018

Neil Diamond came out of his self-imposed retirement from performing live due to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, when he surprised a group of firefighters in Colorado with “Sweet Caroline” on July 27. The group were among those fighting a fire near Basalt in the central part of the state, near where Diamond shares a home with his wife. The blaze had covered more than 12,000 acres.

Diamond announced last Jan. 22 that he would no longer be touring when he canceled the third leg of his 50th Anniversary tour, scheduled to take place in Australia and New Zealand last March.

Diamond took the stage at the Lake Christine incident command post and was greeted with huge applause from those in attendance. “Now,” he said, “you have to save my house,” to great laughter, before turning serious. “I just want to say ‘thank you’ from the people in this area.”

Watch a portion of his performance of “Sweet Caroline”

On July 30, he wrote on his Facebook page: “It was my honor. Our entire community is grateful to the firefighters, first responders and incident command folks from the #LakeChristineFire. As our town rests a little easier, our hearts are breaking for the lives lost in the California fires still burning out of control.”

In his statement last January, Diamond wrote: “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.”

Diamond noted at the time: “I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.” On Aug. 17, Capitol/UMe will release Hot August Night III, a live concert DVD/CD Blu-Ray multi-disc set which chronicles Diamond’s return to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August 2012. The evening was his 40th anniversary celebration of the original multiplatinum-selling Hot August Night collection that was recorded at the very same venue in 1972.

Diamond first came to renown as a songwriter, writing early hits for The Monkees (“I’m a Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” among others) and Jay and the Americans (“Sunday and Me”).

On Jan. 9, the Recording Academy announced that Diamond was being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has achieved 37 Top 40 singles including “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “I Am… I Said” and “Cherry Cherry,” as well as 16 Top 10 albums. Diamond’s many other achievements include a Golden Globe Award, ASCAP Film and Television Award, Billboard Icon Award, NARAS’s MusiCares Person of the Year award in 2009 and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2011, Diamond received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of contributions to American culture.

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  1. Jack Carey
    #1 Jack Carey 31 July, 2018, 23:56

    This guy continues to be the class act he was for 50 yrs.

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