|Artist: Neil Diamond|
|Celebrating over 30 years in the spotlight, STAGES: PERFORMANCES 1970-2002 is the ultimate Neil Diamond live box set. There are 5 audio CDs containing 83 tracks, all but one of which are previously unreleased. Forty-two of these performances include songs that Neil Diamond has never issued in live versions before, a true boon to collectors. Among those 42 tracks are 5 numbers that Neil Diamond has never recorded or released before on any album. The sixth disc, a DVD, contains highlights (12 songs) from a 2002 concert in Dublin plus a backstage video documentary of "Life On the Road." STAGES is the largest single collection of previously unreleased live material ever commercially/officially issued on one artist in pop music history. |
The ultra-deluxe, book-style package includes a 52-page booklet with liner notes written by Neil Diamond, comprehensive track-by-track annotations and band personnel, and more than 40 pages of previously uncirculated photography.
Neil Diamond's liner note essay entitled "An Unexpected Journey," goes right back to his early days as he reflects upon his career. "This is all a long way from 1966," he writes, "when I played that high school gym in Tampa and stayed in a Motel 6. But there's one thing that hasn't changed, and that is the excitement I feel about performing live. Taking the stage is as palpable and seductive for me today as it was back then. The thrill of the unknown, the new, and the unpredictable is still as inspiring and welcome to me after all these years as it was when I first took the stage and made that fool's leap of faith."
STAGES: PERFORMANCES 1970-2002 is truly extraordinary in its scope. The first two CDs, "A Night In Las Vegas, 12/27/02," comprise an entire uncut Neil Diamond concert recording, from the most successful tour of his career. The next two CDs, "Many Stages," comprise performances recorded between 1970 and 2001, in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, and Germany - a total of 40 numbers, more than half of which are making their live version debuts here for the first time. The fifth CD, "Live Christmas," comprises live versions of 12 yuletide favorites recorded in the U.S. and Ireland between 1978 and 1999, all but one of which are songs that that Neil Diamond has never issued in live versions before.
The sixth disc in the package is a 2-part DVD. Part 1, "On Stage Highlights: Filmed Live In Dublin, 7/6/02, Lansdowne Road," is comprised of 12 songs, two of which, "September Morn" and "Solitary Man," are not heard elsewhere on the audio CDs. Part 2 of the DVD is titled "Backstage: Welcome To Diamondville 2001-2002," and is sub-titled "A Documentary Of Life On The Road."
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Includes a DVD disc.|
|Personnel includes: Neil Diamond (vocals, guitar); Eddie Rubin, Randy Sterling, Carol Hunter, Mark Kapner, Dennis St. John, Alan Lindgren, Richard Bennett, Emory Gordy Jr., Reinie Press, Danny Nicholson, Jeffrey Kewley, Jesse Diamond, Doug Rhone, Julia Waters, Ron Tutt, Oren Waters, Art Velasco, Ralf Rickert, Larry Klimas, Don Markese.|
|Compilation producers: Neil Diamond, Sam Cole.|
|Recorded between 1970-2002. Includes liner notes by Laurie Viera Rigler.|
|Few singers are as connected with sing-alongs as the New York City born and raised Neil Diamond. From rousing renditions at pubs to interpretations at karaoke clubs, his songs are vigorously sung from sea to shining sea. The incomparable Mr. Diamond's songs are made to be sung lustily, feverishly, with reckless abandon, and as one would predict, Neil himself sings them that way, making his live shows, concert events in the full-bodied, Tom Jones sense of the word. His shows are the ultimate in fan friendly entertainment, interspersed with wandering tales and sudden, direct connections with the crowd. This distinctly Diamond behavior was even the subject of a Saturday Night Live sketch that played in part off his stage digressions and in part off the passion in his songs, songs which sometimes wear arcane, wonderfully obtuse, and even pleadingly earnest lyrics on their sleeve.|
|The box set STAGES gathers all the live Diamond any fan might desire in five audio discs and a DVD. The performances span his formative years in the early 1970s, when he channeled raw yet sweet Stax-style soul, through his ballads of the '80s and his famous Christmas caroling to two concerts from 2002. All of these performances capture the flavor, the passion, the sound bites, and the sweat of a Neil Diamond concert experience.|
Associated Artists and Works
|Classic Dream Orchestra|
|Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~ Original Soundtrack|
|Quality Singers (The)|
|Duets II ~ Sinatra, Frank|
|Forever Neil Diamond ~ Various Artists|
|Release Date : 09/30/2003|
|Original Release Date : 2003|
|Catalog ID : 90540|
|Label : Legacy|
|Number of Discs : 5|
|Studio/Live : Live|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00827969054024|
- 3 stars out of 5 - "[H]is sonorous vocal power and masterful phrasing have remained intact..."
BioOver the course of a career that kicked in with the adolescent rush of Cherry Cherry in 1966 and crescendoed thirty years later with the 3-CD retrospective In My Lifetime, Neil Diamond has never failed to delight and surprise his fans with fresh approaches to the music that moves him the most deeply. The happy saga of Neil Diamond, one of the most creatively bold and prolific singer-songwriters to emerge in the rock era, is one American tale well worth repeating. At age 16, he received a guitar as a birthday present, and soon he focused on lessons and, later, songwriting. He later attended NYU as a pre-med student on a fencing scholarship, but songwriting remained his first love. He left college six months before graduating to accept a songwriting position with a publishing company for $50 a week, and has never regretted the decision. Diamond eventually leased an office on Broadway for $35 a month where he could devote all his time to writing.
After several lean years, he was approached by producers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. This meeting led to his eventual signing with Bang Records. At his first Bang session in 1966, Neil recorded what would become his first three hit singles: Solitary Man,Cherry, Cherry,and I Got The Feeling (Oh No, No). He also scored his first #1 record as a writer with the Monkees I'm A Believer. Diamond's Bang Records catalog included the albums The Feel of Neil Diamond (his 1966 debut), Just For You (1967), Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits (1968) and Shilo (1970). 1969 brought him his biggest record of the early years, Sweet Caroline, from the album Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/Sweet Caroline, an album that combined gospel themes with pop formats. The following year, he released the albums Touching You Touching Me, which included the hit single "Holly Holy," and "Tap Root Manuscript (1970)," which experimented with African-inspired arrangements. At the height of his touring popularity, Diamond announced a sabbatical from the stage to devote more time to his family, but in 1976, he resumed performing with record-breaking tours of Australia and New Zealand. In 1973, Neil signed with Columbia, with which he has enjoyed his greatest successes. His first release for the label, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, became his #2 all-time best-seller and earned him Grammy and Golden Globe awards. In 1974 he released Serenade, which yielded the hit, "Longfellow Serenade." In 1976 he recorded the platinum Beautiful Noise with producer Robbie Robertson. The late 70s found Diamond on both the radio and TV airwaves. In 1976, he returned to the Greek Theater for eight SRO shows, resulting in his first TV special and his second live LP, 1977's platinum Love At The Greek. On the singles charts, his 1978 duet ballad with Barbra Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," reached #1.
In 1994, Diamond released Live In America, which documented his record-breaking two-year "Love In The Round" world tour, in which he performed on a 360-degree stage built in the middle of every arena he played. The Tennessee Moon project, which Diamond recorded in Nashville with the help of such stellar country artists as Waylon Jennings and the Mavericks' Raul Malo, followed in 1996, and included a companion TV special and home video. Also in 1996 came the extraordinary 70-song In My Lifetime boxed-set containing 37 hit singles, 16 previously unissued early demos, alternative versions of well known classics, the newly written and recorded title track, and a full-color 72-page booklet with extensive liner notes including an interview with Diamond, scores of rare photos, a complete discography, and song-by-song annotations by Diamond. It was a fitting package for the enduring artist who had already sold 110 million records and set box office records at major venues all over the world. Neil Diamond won a Grammy in 1973 as composer of the Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) and achieved one of his biggest successes with the soundtrack to the movie The Jazz Singer, in which he starred opposite Sir Laurence Olivier. In 1998 Neil Diamond, the interpretive vocalist, returned to the movies as the inspiration for The Movie Album As Time Goes By, a two-disc collection of 20 classic songs from the treasure trove of motion picture music. True to the spirit and magic of Hollywood at its best, The Movie Album As Time Goes By was recorded live on 20th Century Fox's Newman Scoring Stage and conducted by the legendary film composer/conductor Elmer Bernstein. The album received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. Unchallenged as one of the rock era's greatest live solo performers, Diamond's latest world tour began in October, 1998 and continued through 1999, performing 117 SRO shows in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia/ New Zealand. His spectacular New Year's Eve concert appearance in Denver was broadcast worldwide during ABC-TV's Millennium coverage. Amusement Business named Diamond the #5 touring performer of the 90's. On June 15, 2000, the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Diamond the coveted Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, making him one of a select few composers to be honored twice by the organization. Most recently, Diamond appeared in a cameo role in the motion picture Saving Silverman.