Skip to comments.Neil Diamond's offer called 'unprecedented'
Posted on 08/28/2008 6:39:50 AM PDT by Huntress
After a subpar performance Monday night in Value City Arena, Neil Diamond yesterday apologized and offered refunds to the 11,000 people who attended the concert.
"Dear Fans in Columbus," the singer said in a statement, "I haven't let you down before, and I won't let you down now. Until you hear from me again remember, You are the sun. I am the moon. You are the words. I am the tune. Forgive me. I love you. Neil."
Diamond, whose voice was extremely hoarse throughout the show, said yesterday that he is suffering from acute laryngitis. Ordered by doctors to rest his voice, he canceled his two other shows this week -- today in Green Bay, Wis., and Friday in St. Louis.
Some industry veterans said they'd never heard of a performer offering refunds because of the quality of the show.
Tracy Tucker, former executive director of Germain Amphitheater, couldn't recall giving a refund for such a reason in the 14 years of the amphitheater.
"The only time we issued refunds was when an advertised act did not play, for some reason," she said.
A throat ailment for a singer isn't unusual, especially for someone such as Diamond, who is 67 and performing three times a week on a lengthy tour.
Still, some fans, who paid $19.50 to $120 per ticket, wondered why he went on with the show if he could barely talk, let alone sing.
When Diamond took the stage, it became immediately apparent that his voice had been reduced to a harsh rasp.
"The first five minutes were very painful," said Sharon Moitis, 66, of Galena. "It was just very sad. I got tears in my eyes when he was struggling on Solitary Man. It was a poignant song to be singing because he was indeed a solitary man."
Many fans left the show early, some demanding their money back. Value City offered some departing fans tickets for Celine Dion's Sept. 22 show in exchange for their Diamond seats.
Marci Stitzlein, who attended the show with a friend, left after the fourth song. She said issuing a refund was the least Diamond could do.
"I sing, myself, on the side, so I understand the whole thing of wanting to not let the fans down," said Stitzlein, 44. "But this was a bigger disappointment for him to have tried to do the show, knowing how sick he was."
Janene Bushey, who is 53 and has seen Diamond 14 times, said, "I about fainted when he came out and said, 'Hello, Columbus,' because I knew something was wrong."
"It was painful," Bushey added. "My heart ached for him. It was painful for him and me both."
The refund, she said, "is fine, but I would have been thrilled to have another concert."
PromoWest Productions President Scott Stienecker, who books shows in Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, also said he's never heard of a performer offering refunds for a poor performance.
"It's unfortunate, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. I've sat through Vince Neil falling-down drunk before. I've sat through Bob Dylan not even acknowledging that there was a crowd.
"It's unfortunate, but (Diamond) made it, he was here ready, willing and able."
That's slight consolation for fans such as Roger Moody, of Westerville.
Moody, 65, bought eight tickets with a face value of $120 each to take his wife, children and grandchildren.
"If it had just been me and my wife, I'd have gotten up and left," said Moody, who stayed for the duration of the show.
"I didn't know whether to feel sorry for the guy or appreciate that he gave it a try, but he should have known that that was so far off-base."
Like many of the more than 100 people who called The Dispatch and left comments at Dispatch.com, Moody left the show wondering why Diamond didn't acknowledge his ailing voice during the concert.
Diamond issuing refunds, however, left Moody "utterly flabbergasted."
"In all due respect," he said, "if anybody was going to do it, I would think that this gentleman would."
Others said they enjoyed the show and admired Diamond for going on with it.
"I loved it," said Carolyn Wilkins, 64, of Clintonville. "I recognized that his voice was a little raspy, but it was a gift to be there. In my book, he did great, especially knowing that he was not feeling well. He's my inspiration."
Will she take the Jazz Singer up on his refund offer?
"I don't think so," Wilkins said before pausing.
"Well, I'll mull it tonight."
Yeah; I don’t think much of Diamond, but this is a classy move. Integrity.
I loved his music back in the day but thought him a bit of a sleaze. Nice he gave back customers’ money.
Also not a Diamond ‘fan’ but one has to respect his skills as a writer. This demonstrates that the gentlemen has a high level of integrety, one rarely scene in a ‘superstar’.
I’ve never much liked his music, but this is an act that demonstrates real integrity, and character.
(Now, can I get a refund for "The Jazz Singer"?) :-)
He is a class guy. His album ‘Hot August Night’ is one of the best ever recorded...whether you’re a ‘Neil Diamond’ fan or not. It ranks among the best. If I remember correctly, its a live album recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles...outside...on a hot August night. Yes, recorded in 1972. Classic album.
I saw him on some morning show when he first kicked off this come back tour of his and he sounded HORRIBLE! I don’t know if he looked worse or sounded worse. He looked and sounded exactly like what he was, an old man trying to recapture his youth. If I’d have been inclined to buy a ticket before that “performance” I would have quickly changed my mind (and I’ve never been a fan so I wouldn’t have gone anyway). My point is, that I’m surprized he actually went through with it, that his handlers didn’t talk him out of it; it was embarrassing.
Good move, BTW, on Neil's part.
Mr. Diamond is a gem.
Anyone who bought tickets to see this creep who admitted to fantasizing about Caroline Kennedy when she was 5 years old, deserves a bad show. He has always has too much “bravado” in his singing voice to be taken seriously by anyone but himself. If you look up conceit in the dictionary, his picture should be there to clarify the definition.
Laryngitis or not-—time to retire.
Senior rockers look and sound ridiculous.
When I think of Neil Diamond I think of that movie “The Jazz Singer”. Jazz singer, yea right. Cheese ball goof more like it. Anyway, good for him to return the money.
WE enjoyed the NYC show.
Why do you think he's a sleaze? Really curious.
If I recall correctly, real class.
When his wife divorced him, he directed his attorney to give her 50%. It was his bad that caused the split.
His demand? That the family still spends holidays together.
No time to locate the source I read it on...off to work.
hahahaha, it’s so true. What a weirdo for his infatuation for a child. Sick!
Cool name too. I am a Southerner who now lives in Grand Rapids.
Neil Diamond a "rocker"? Who knew?