Boxed Set Celebrates Diamond's 'Stages'
Columbia/Legacy will shine a spotlight on the live performance aspect of Neil Diamond's career with the Sept. 30 release of a six-disc boxed set, Billboard.com has learned. "Stages: Performances 1972-Columbia/Legacy will shine a spotlight on the live performance aspect of Neil Diamond's career with the Sept. 30 release of a six-disc boxed set, Billboard.com has learned. "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." Several tracks appear from Diamond's 2001 studio album "Three Chord Opera," including "I Haven't Played This Song in Years" and "A Mission of Love."
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, including "Solitary Man," "I'm a Believer," "September Morn" and "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show." The rest of the DVD includes the tour documentary "Welcome to Diamondville."
Diamond's 2001-2002 tour was a worldwide success, grossing $80 million, according to Billboard Box Score. "I don't know if I could do it again, but I felt it was necessary," he told Billboard last year. The artist added that he will begin work on a new album this year and plans to tour again in 2004, but in a "much more limited" capacity.