Neil Diamond pulled out all the stops at Barclays Center Thursday night for his first public concert in his native Brooklyn.
Reggae version of "Red, Red Wine"? Check.
Heartbreaking version of "Love on the Rocks"? Ain't no big surprise.
"Sweet Caroline" sing-along? So good. So good. So good.
But the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also took time to savor his return to Brooklyn. As he showed off his dance moves during "Red, Red Wine," adding that he learned the box step at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Flatbush Avenue. The detail-filled ballad "Brooklyn Roads" provided poignant moments, as home movies from his childhood in Coney Island rolled behind him.
"I used to walk these streets and wonder what the future held for me," Diamond said. "I never would have predicted this."
Though his two-hour show was filled with hits, Diamond made an effort to introduce some new music, including "Nothing But a Heartache" and "The Art of Love" from last year's "Melody Road" album, both of which actually suit his 74-year-old voice better.
"Songs mostly relate truth," he said of "The Art of Love." "That's what I tried to do with this song."
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Sure, Diamond can get a little schlocky. At times, he punctuates his songs with the patter of a Vegas lounge act rather than an arena headliner. And the video that accompanied "America" felt like it hadn't been updated since the '80s, especially when the footage of a soaring bald eagle dropped in just as Diamond sang, "My country 'tis of thee."
However, Diamond can still masterfully deliver a song, especially one as powerful as "I Am . . . I Said" or even "Cherry, Cherry." He believes in everything he's doing and that kind of passion is contagious, even when he's demanding you turn on your "Heartlight."
SETLIST: I'm a Believer/Thank the Lord for the Night Time/Love on the Rocks/Hello Again/Pretty Amazing Grace/You Got to Me/Kentucky Woman/Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon/Solitary Man/Red Red Wine/Beautiful Noise/Play Me/Brooklyn Roads/Nothing But a Heartache/Something Blue/The Art of Love/Forever in Blue Jeans/Cherry, Cherry/Crunchy Granola Suite/Holly Holy/I Am ... I Said// ENCORE: Cracklin' Rosie/Sweet Caroline/America/Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/Heartlight