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Neil Diamond

All The World's A 'Stage'

NeilColumbia/Legacy will shine a spotlight on the live performance aspect of Neil Diamond's career with the release this week of a six-disc boxed set. "Stages: Performances 1972-2002" will include five audio discs and a DVD. All but one of the 83 tracks spread across the set are previously unreleased. Diamond penned the liner notes for "Stages," which will be augmented with a 52-page color booklet.

The first two discs of the set, "A Night in Las Vegas," are drawn from Diamond's Dec. 27, 2002, performance at the city's MGM Grand Garden Arena. The track list ranges from such classic hits as "Cracklin' Rosie," "Hello Again," "America" and "Sweet Caroline" to deeper album cuts like "Beautiful Noise," "Yes I Will"/"Lady Magdalene" and "Captain Sunshine."

Discs three and four comprise material recorded between 1970-2001 in North America, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and Germany. Here fans will find Diamond covering Bob Dylan ("Lay Lady Lay"), Elton John ("Rocket Man") and the Beach Boys ("God Only Knows"), and trotting out tunes from his own catalog, such as "Brooklyn Roads," "Longfellow Serenade," "Primitive" and "Sweet L.A. Days."

The fifth disc of "Stages" is made up exclusively of live performances of such seasonal material as "Little Drummer Boy," "Winter Wonderland," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." As for the DVD component, 12 tracks are featured from a July 2002 show in Dublin, as is the tour documentary "Welcome to Diamondville."