In lieu of Neil Diamond’s recent retirement from performing live, Fisher Stevens worthy tribute show A Beautiful Noise, ensures that the artist’s five decade chart-topping musical legacy is not forgotten.
After being diagnosed in January 2018 with Parkinson’s disease 77-year-old Diamond said he would no longer gig, and cancelled the last leg of his 50th anniversary tour. Diamond has penned many a hit and has sales of 130 million records. In association with Flying Entertainment, the company behind Thriller Live, A Beautiful Noise is produced by David Mackay who created hits for Cliff Richard, Dusty Springfield and The Bee Gees.
The show tells how Diamond gave up medical training to follow his dreams to be a singer songwriter. He began writing music in the sixties at the hit making Brill Building where prolific song writing teams Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich were also housed. Diamond’s first successes were often covers of his own songs by major acts at the time, and included ‘I’m a Believer’ by The Monkees’ Deep Purple’s ‘Kentucky Woman’ and Lulu’s ‘The Boat That I Row.’ Diamond launched his solo career in 1966, with ‘Solitary Man.’
Through 35 songs, A Beautiful Noise ushers the audience through Diamond’s illustrious career. The first act is slow to warm up and at times almost soporific. The pace livens up considerably in the second half and by the end of the show due to Fisher Stevens enthusiasm for the music and his skills of interaction, many of the audience are dancing in the aisles.
A Beautiful Noise attempts to contextualise Diamond’s career trajectory by using a video backdrop and narrated voice-overs. Many images are peculiarly incongruous and are more an irksome distraction rather than visual aid. Fisher Stevens sounds remarkably like Diamond and more than ably showcases many of his icons hits including ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’, ‘Love on the Rocks’, ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’.
His spot-on vocals are almost upstaged by Rebecca Macintyre’s emotional interpretation of Barbara Streisand’s ‘Woman in Love’ and their collaboration of ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ almost brings the house down. The two hour musical set is superbly performed by the gifted band under the tight direction of Mark Burton.
A Beautiful Noise never pretends to be more than a pedestrian hit tune crowd-pleaser, and in this sense, this slickly produced show wins hands down.