Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hello, My Friend, Hello

There are plenty of "right place at the right time" moments that have made 2008 grand. One recent example came in the arctic northern city of Milwaukee, Wis., while visiting my girlfriend of five years for Thanksgiving.

After a big night of eggplant parmigiana and limoncello at Buca di Beppo, we steered the Corolla over by the Bradley Center and found that Neil Diamond was in town (actually, we knew for a couple of weeks he would be there, and also found that remaining tickets were slightly out of our price range).

Thanks to a friendly curbside negotiation (and two crisp-from-the-ATM Jacksons) with a parka-clad "I Need Tickets" guy, in minutes we were searching for our Section 217 seats expecting to be in the not-quite-nosebleed section of the arena.

Imagine our surprise to find our seats (face value $120 each) were on ROW FOUR at stage right! HELLO! Man, what an awesome show!

Although we missed a couple of the megahits (specifically, "Hello Again" and "Love On The Rocks" -- we did arrive 20 minutes into the concert, which explains the friendly ticket guy's rock bottom pricing) we WERE on site for The Jazz Singer's big Olympic-related hit "America," which was, for me, the unofficial theme song of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bid -- I have vivid memories of this song playing on the radio the 1990 day Atlanta won the bid (turns out NBC saw fit to make it somewhat official in their July 19, 1996, broadcast of the Opening Ceremony from Georgia, and the song was also a more official component of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games of Salt Lake, according to this bio). See the video below for a little taste of the show.

Atlantans have a chance to experience the magic of Mr. Diamond next week (I highly recommend this show to anyone who has or has not experienced Neil Diamond live) at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, and I may just have to be there, too, if the right "friend in the ticket business" and Buca di Beppo are in the neighborhood.

video

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