There’s a reason I don’t often watch ‘entertainment’ on ITV. Films and the odd series; yes. But music and other stuff; very rarely. I suffered a bout of hopefulness on Saturday afternoon, so decided to watch the Audience with Neil Diamond yesterday evening. I used to like Neil quite a bit. Seeing as I actually bought a number of singles and LPs back at the beginning of time, when I was young and poor, should be an indication that I really did like him.
So, it could be nice to hear him sing on television, couldn’t it? Even if it was a repeat. But nine songs in one hour! Plus an awful lot of awful advertisements for corn, non-smelly toilets and ice cream. And a really tasteless watch.
I cringed. But I stayed. Mainly out of curiosity, because I wanted to see quite how bad it could get. So, they invite celebrities to sit in the audience. Eastenders and such like, and the fact that Judi Dench was there is an indication of the importance of Neil Diamond. Germaine Greer smiled in a strained sort of way. Tim Rice even allowed himself to be one of the questioners. The questions were vaguely interesting. But I’d rather have had them in a chat show.
How do you get a roomful of celebrities to come and fake standing ovations and impromptu cheering and clapping and things? And how do you get your performer to put up with it? I’d prefer to think of Neil as someone who doesn’t take the fawning for granted. Maybe they all get to meet at a party afterwards, for mutual fame admiration?
Nine songs. Some were disappointing, but perhaps only because I didn’t know them. I felt that Neil’s great voice had gone, though it re-appeared briefly in Cracklin’ Rosie, and in Sweet Caroline. But that’s only two songs.