Though he's "basically still recovering" from his last concert tour, Neil Diamond isn't ruling out a return to the stage even before he releases his next album.
"I'd like to have a (song) writing period first, but there are things that come in, interesting things, and I do like to keep busy," Diamond -- who releases the new live DVD/CD "Hot August Night/NYC" on Friday -- tells Billboard.com. "Performing is very physical work, and I do like to stay at it. It keeps me in shape. It keeps my voice in shape. I'm going to have to play it by ear...but I'm not excluding the idea of actually doing some performances before I get into writing on a 24/7 basis."
"Hot August Night/NYC," which is being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart properties, was filmed and recorded at New York's Madison Square Garden during Diamond's four-night run there a year ago. The DVD features the entire 26-songs performance as well as a documentary, "Welcome Home Neil," in which Diamond visits his childhood haunts in Brooklyn.
CBS is airing a one-hour special culled from the DVD at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
Diamond says the New York stand "was memorable to me. It's just going back to New York, and then we went to Brooklyn and that was a fun experience. I hadn't been back there in forever, and you have these images in your mind of what your childhood streets and house and home were like, so going back there, every street corner had a memory and it was wonderful."
As for the next album, a follow-up to last year's chart-topping "Home Before Dark," Diamond says he and producer Rick Rubin have "already started talking about it and we've kicked a few ideas around...We're both open." But, he adds, little can be determined until he starts songwriting in earnest.
"I've been working and doing my thing, but (there's) no real pressure, intensity, deadline kind of thing," Diamond says. "I've been trying to stay away from that, so I'm kind of easing back into serious writing again. It all stems from the songs, so it's just a matter of writing the best songs I can, the most interesting songs or the most compelling or passionate or emotional and we'll see where they lead us."