When Neil Diamond Gave a Surprise Post-Retirement Performance

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(C) 2015 Neil Diamond (Photo: Ari Michelson; used with permission)

It had been more than two years since Neil Diamond announced his retirement from live performance due to Parkinson’s disease, but that didn’t stop the beloved singer from surprising fans in Las Vegas on March 7, 2020. Diamond turned up un-billed that Saturday night at the 24th annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala, the benefit event for the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic, and sang seven of his hits for an audience of 1,500 VIPs: “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Hello Again,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” Love on the Rocks,” “I Am … I Said,” “September Morn” and “Sweet Caroline.”

It was surely one of the year’s final pre-pandemic live performances.

According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Diamond was joined for the latter by guests Sammy Hagar, Chris Isaak, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Billy Ray Cyrus and Katlyn Nichol.

Photo: Andreas Terlaak; used with permission

According to the article, “It was the 79-year-old’s superstar’s first public performance since Aug. 12, 2017, at The Forum in Inglewood, California. He hadn’t headlined in Las Vegas since May 17, 2015, at Mandalay Bay Events Center.” The report also stated that, “Diamond was joined as the night’s honoree by Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson, recipients of the Keep Memory Alive Community Leadership award in honor of the couple’s philanthropic endeavors and contributions to medical research, education and many Jewish causes and organizations.

Watch Diamond sing “Sweet Caroline” at the Vegas event

Prior to Diamond’s appearance, the other guests performed his songs, with Cyrus covering “I’m a Believer,” Isaak taking on “Solitary Man”; Edmonds and Nichols duetting on “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”; and Hagar singing “Thank the Lord for the Night Time.”

Related: Diamond came out of his self-imposed retirement once before to sing for firefighters

In January 2018, Diamond issued a statement announcing his withdrawal from the concert stage: “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” he said  at the time. “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. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Watch a compilation of Diamond’s performance at the Vegas event

Diamond was born Jan. 24, 1941.

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  1. paul ramon
    #1 paul ramon 11 March, 2020, 01:13

    he still is..i said

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