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How Neil Diamond Almost Ruined My Marriage, Why I Forgive Him (And I Insult Band Geeks Everywhere!)

Thursday night I did something I never, ever, ever thought I would do.

I went to a Neil Diamond concert. Willingly.

This is a huge step for me because Neil Diamond almost ruined my marriage—before I even got married. About a month after Bill and I moved in together he had the brilliant idea to wake me up early on a Saturday morning blasting the Neil Diamond Christmas album (it was appropriate for the season, but certainly not for the time of day). He woke me out of a dead sleep with this CD—the deep, gravely voice of Diamond singing “Silent Night” when it was clearly no longer SILENT or night, penetrating my happy dreams. I was pissed.

At first I tried to be nice about it—”Oh, honey, that’s sweet, but let’s try this again in like 6 hours, mkay?” He didn’t get it. He thought it was cute and thought he’d win me over. And on it played. Neil continued singing “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.” All I felt like was ripping the CD out the player and shoving it, well, where it certainly wouldn’t have felt anything like Christmas. Then came “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” but this is really where the war began. I jumped out of bed in a fighting mood. Poor Bill thought he was being sweet and romantic and I was an cranky banshee awakened from my lair. This was probably our first real fight in the three years we’d been together at that point. It was ugly and unnecessary. Truth be told it was more about me being awakened before I wanted to be, and not so much about Neil Diamond.

Needless to say, that CD has never made an appearance in our home again. (I think Bill stashes it in his car and listens to it in secret.)

Bill is a huge Neil Diamond fan. Huge. Bill was a band geek in high school—and not just any band geek, but the drum major. The leader of the band geeks. The end-all be-all of band geeks.

This is a drum major stunt double. It is NOT Bill.

This is a drum major stunt double. It is NOT Bill.

In college he was going to major in music (before he switched to prelaw and became a cop) and one of the reasons was Neil Diamond. Bill could go on for hours about Neil and his song writing skills, how he was the first rock/pop star to add an orchestra behind him, blah, blah, blah. I sort of listen so I can nod at the appropriate time, but I don’t get real deep with him on this.

So…for Bill’s birthday I bought him tickets to see Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl. And not just any tickets—I bought box seats about 15 rows back just slightly to the left. They were amazing seats. [If you have never been to the Hollywood Bowl, it is worth making a trip to go at least once even if you get bench seats all the way at the top in the back row. A couple of years ago, they made some renovations and the sound is amazing. And sitting outside under the stars, sucking down a bottle of wine is totally romantic.]

Bill was thrilled. Good seats, Neil Diamond and me. Admittedly, I was the question mark of the evening. I think he lived in fear of the fact that I would sit and mock him and all the Neil-iacs (or whatever they call themselves), but I was on my best behavior.

In fact, I actually enjoyed myself. We danced alongside Ocogenarians. We rocked out with septugenarians. We sang along with people my age. Neil and his 14-piece played through a lot of his new stuff, which I wasn’t familiar with, but was lovely, and then he got to the old stuff and it was amazing. Really. Words I never thought I would write. (And now they will come back to haunt me. Forever.) Of course, he sang “America,” “Sweet Caroline,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” but when he got to “Play Me” I inexplicably found myself in tears and couldn’t stop.

So, Neil? I forgive you for almost ruining my marriage, but we will never speak of this again. And Bill, I hope you had a good time! (It may never happen again!)

PS: This doesn’t mean you can bring your Christmas album back into the house.

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7 Responses

  1. Awwwwww. I’m so happy to read how Neil helped you……wait for it………..TURN ON YOUR HEART LIGHT.

  2. You mock.

  3. I once dated a guy who was a Neiliac.I overlooked this for quite a while until Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Suddenly it was all about JLS all the time. 24/7 — apparantly the most awesome happening EVER. This is when I flew the coop. He probably still hasn’t noticed.

  4. i tagged you at my place

  5. I once saw Neil Diamond reach out from the footlights of the stage, grab a young woman and kiss the hell out of her – deep throat penetration, the works. Yuck, I have to say.

  6. Jen, if you only knew how many of us dreamed of being that girl. He can give me the “deep throat penetration” anytime, and I’m much younger than he is. 🙂

  7. Wow! Thank you to all the readers over at I Am I Said who have stopped by here today to read this!!

    I will admit that I finally sort of get it. He has an amazing presence on stage, and his band really rocks. There’s something cool about going to see a performer and every single person in the audience (whether they were 8 or 80) was rocking out, singing EVERY SINGLE WORD.

    I grew up listening to Neil—there was never a car trip without my dad’s 8 Track tapes of Neil, so I have a soft spot for him. (Shh, don’t tell.)

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