Glasgow: SECC, Mon 22 Feb it: “it at For one weekend only, Neil Diamond took up residence in Glasgow and, according to The List’s spies, he spent his night off feasting in a swish city restaurant. The next night (the last of three sold out gigs), there he is bathed in divine light on his revolving stage looking like the showbiz god he is — and yet ' also strangely human, vulnerable and clearly having eaten all the pies the night before.
For Neil Diamond possesses a splendid gut (move over Tiny Ultrasound). He compensates bizarrely with a skinny arse (watch out Brett Anderson) and when he wobbles his debatable assets in one of his showbiz shimmies, it sends the ladeez wild. And when he hits 1 the classic Diamond poses (pointing to the sky like a been-there, done- that Travolta, stabbing downwards like a downward-stabbing thing), it sends the ever-so-slighty ironic observers into fits of giggles.
That’s how it is with entertainment legends. You can't quite believe it when they’re actually as good in the flesh as you hoped they'd be. Which is not to i say that Diamond doesn't have his shaky moments - one unfamiliar song about the streets of Brooklyn
: (Neil's hood) is burdened with bleeding heart lyrics which The Cranberries would reject as too trite, and on 3 'Can't Help Falling In Love' he sounds like some karaoke singer who fancies himself as the next, well, Neil
it's okay to like.
However, he more than compensates with all his best- loved songs. ’Forever In Blue Jeans’ is an evergreen social(ist) anthem for yesterday, today, tomorrow. The magnificently overwrought ’Love On The Rocks’ shows up the big ballads of the 905 for the empty vessels that they are and ’Sweet Caroline' is the ’Hi Ho Silver Lining'
King tubby: Neil Diamond
Diamond has a multi-genre band to back him up — a hippy drummer, Spinal Tap guitarists, Caribbean percussionists and an old jazzer on piano. On reflection, he may decide that allowing them an instrumental in
which they showcase all their specialist areas at the
same time was an indulgence he could ill afford. Still, even an old trooper like Neil needs to give his ageing tonsils a rest at some point in this two-hour extravaganza. By the time he gets to the encore, the show has taken on the atmosphere of an evangelical revival meeting with the Diamond geezer restoring faith
in the power of performance. (Whitney Plains)
OPERA l The Magic Fountain l (Bias-gov." “earn: «.2; Sat 20 Veal)
l Glade all over: The Magic Fountain
The shadow of Wagner looms large Over Delius's The Magic Fountain, which receives its British stage prerrxiere in the current Scottish opera season Written in l895 (but unperforined until a Radio 3 broadcast ll‘; 1977», the opera was Surely heavily influenced by the British composer's visit to Bayreuth the year before The music is rich, colourful and descriptive proof enough that it deserv s more exposure than offered by a single, deleted recording - but what the story promises in atmosphere and setting, it fails to deliver as drama
In the 16th century, Spanish nobleman Solano crosses the Atlantic in search of a FOuntain of Eternal Y0uth Shipwrecked, he is found by Watana, who vows to Kl” him as she has sworn vengeante on all white men Solano persuades chief Wapanacki to provide him with a guide for his JOurney to the Fountain through the Florida glades, Watana is chosen and, on the way, she and her enemy realise that they are in love With each other.
This rornaiztit sob-trot is un: :inwnczlig even by .ll)(?’d sta'islarrls, although it does give C'eiiiis the extuse "1- ‘.‘-.fli(’ a wonderful .‘iehesftxl, as the lovers squabble oxer '.'.llt) :s (ll‘lfll; tn he first to dive into the matters that .'...l kzil H(l‘.'.‘(,‘\.’t’f, the singers Stephen Anne ’Iasttn as
them Allen as Solano, Watanal can't summon up rl'W glory as their characters are 3"." drawn, in fact only ionathan ‘."ei"l, as the mystical seer Taliirn f'tritiit‘g carries any conviction in nahat is disapotlintinrily little more than a tazneo
The tosturnes (lash hath. iltt' period and location the 'Indiahs' would be more soited to North Africa .‘iltltoiigh Ashley l/iartin-DaVis's geometric. set designs and Paxil Pyant s boldly coloiirful lighting provide .i HSUcil interest in their ovvn right Other than that, you'd be as well (losinr: your eyes and listening to the orchestra — ‘.\.ltlc"l‘. pretty much defeats the purpose (Alan MorriSOn) % Further performances at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, on Thu 4 and Sat 6 Mar
live reviews MUSIC
Trent & The Needles Glasgow: g2, Fri 26 Feb.
The Needles mix a punk rock look, attitude and sound, With the poppier parts of 3 Colours Red and end up with an intrigUing sonic assault. Recent single ’Teenage Bomb’ (out now on Lithium Records) opens the set with a bang and catchy chorus. Hopefully, this Single will be the first of many from these Aberdeenshire lads.
Trent, a four-piece from Coatbridge, are promoting their new EP, 'Perfect Stranger' (out now on the Judas Salvatore label). Faced With a rapt til..'fl1F'l‘.'—f,‘, they perform their brand of alteiri.:ti~.'e loci. with c :;rifid<=rlce and style, 30unding not unlike a feistier Radiohead. (Fiona Johnstoni
Magicdrive Edinburgh: Cas Rock, Sat 20 Feb. Choca With chutzpah, tunes and cherubic charm, lvlagicdrive could be forgiven for looking through green tinted spectacles at the success of contemporaries Idlevhld and Annie Christian. But you have to wonder how likely the mUSK press would be to champion a band inspired by The Buzzcor ks, Phil Specter and the bargain bill of popular culture
‘Hi, \‘Jt’f'fff lvlr’igicdtive, the best band from Edinburgh Since The Relillosl' they a ry ‘.‘Jllll inticho comic book cool. The List said as much last issue, so it must be true. 'l'rn In Love With A Japanese Schoolgirl' sings a frontnian so slight he makes. shinny rib T—shirt look baggy and behaves like a kid who’s iust ingested every e-nuiitber going before discovering the lOYS of space hopping They could yet be tontelidei‘s (Rodger Evans)
Glasgow: Bonkers Show Bar, Wed 24 Feb.
.‘olaisc-n are a il‘/t’-;:lt‘l,t’ Glaswegian band imbued Will] the sleazy spirit of '.\'eiiiiar cabaret or 'rlainhurg-ert‘i Beatles Their singer and guitarist, Peter Rose, takes the stage :n red shirt and black trousers, looking for all the dorm monde like Kraftta'erk's Ralph Hutter on an absinthe bender or Ddﬂfl Byrne With Stuart Staples lodged lf‘. his throat Certainly, the orchestral rniserabilism of Tznrit-rstic ts is the r loses: reference pornt, not least because Johnson employ a .izoitn as 'lit‘d' lead instrument The i'ieasiireri atrnosplietlcs of their debut single ’Tiipoiiig With The h’loonlight' (out no.2 1,1". Pliivi cloesn I llllllt.‘ gel live, possibly because they lx—txen't played together often elititigh, but when they
5. areer through the (aster, noisier songs it's tttiite thrilling. (Peter Ross)
STAR RATINGS >‘~: w e w Unmissable .z «.2: 7r .s Very good a. e e Worth a shot vs vs Below average w You’ve been warned
zl -» l 8 l.‘,.ir NETS) THE lIST 41