American Airlines Center, Dallas
Thursday, May 28, 2015
"Who opens for Neil Diamond?" I wondered all day before last night's show at American Airlines Center. My best guess was The Antiques Road Show. My second best guess was Nilla Wafers. But both of those guesses were wrong.
As it turns out, nobody opens for Neil Diamond. Maybe that's because his show already starts late — 8 p.m. — and he plays a 2-hour set, so we're already talking about being up way past bed time. That's not a dig. It's a pure fact. One that nobody in that arena would argue.
Come to think of it, every concert should support this plan of action: start the concert at 8, over by 10:30 at the latest. Bed time is fucking awesome, and there's no reason a concert should have to mess with bed time. Let's knock this concert shit out in an orderly fashion and then we can all get our recommended nine hours of sleep and the world will immediately be a better place. Do you know how much horrible shit happens to your body when you don't get enough sleep? All kinds of bad shit. It can make you sick, it can make you forgetful, it can make you grumpy as hell. Basically, it immediately turns you into a 90 year-old woman.
Speaking of 90 year-old women: they're fantastic. And they were all at the American Airlines Center losing their fucking minds (either over Neil Diamond, or not).
They were dancing gramma dances (including but not limited to: The Shoulders; The Arms Up Sway; The Arms Down Sway; The I Still Know Where My Hips Are, You Buncha Mother Fuckers; The Deliberate Point), laughing gramma laughs and getting gramma-drunk. Everyone was so unbelievably happy to see Neil Diamond, and Neil Diamond was unbelievably happy to see them, too.
He did Neil Diamond dances (including but not limited to: The Nod-And-Wave; The I Can Still Walk Backwards Drink It In Ladies; The Hand In The Air That I Wave Like I Just Do Not Care; The Creepy Point-At-The-Audience-And-Maintain-Eye-Contact-For-Far-Too-Long-Jedi-Mind-Trick), he made Neil Diamond jokes about being shocked that people paid lots of money to see him perform and he walked up and down the badass Neil Diamond ramp on stage (where stairs might traditionally be for other, dumber performers, who apparently like the idea of breaking a hip).
Nostalgia filled the arena. So did one too many spritzes of 20-year-old Oscar de la Renta perfume. There was also a far-higher-than-average amount of snapping. It was just as it ought to be.
Neil Diamond sang Neil Diamond songs to a stadium packed floor to ceiling with the most polite concert-goers there have ever been. Nobody spoke a word during Neil Diamond's songs, unless they were playing Name That Tune two beats in. (Whisperscreams: "OOOH IT'S THE JEANS SONG.") And nobody stood during his set unless Neil Diamond said, "OK, now everybody get up and dance!" Many chose to stand at the end of a song and clap as loudly as possible— it was exactly the same level of respectful appreciation one might show for a deeply effective slam poet, or a really good episode of Game of Thrones, or the final bow of a high school musical. In fact, the entire concert could have been a high school graduation ceremony. It was a perfectly lovely evening... That probably ended in a lot of lovely gramma boning.
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So to all you grammas in Dallas today, power-walking through NorthPark Mall wearing the same flowy blouse and capri pants with sensible orthopedic shoes you were wearing last night: High fives. And Neil Diamond forever.