Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Class Act

Neil has always been one of my favorites, since I thought "Cherry, Cherry" was about something dirty when I was eleven. I always wanted to look like him especially in the "Hot August Night" period. I have followed his music and saw him live a couple of times. One time, while being popped in the head with a cane. "Shilo","Solitary Man","Holly Holy"...he is a part of My soundtrack, no question about it. Here's what he did for his followers after not being up to par. I have NEVER heard of someone offering refunds for a bad night. Sorry St. Louis will not get to see him...

Ailing singer pledges refunds
Neil Diamond's offer called 'unprecedented'
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 3:24 AM
By Aaron Beck
Have you ever heard of a performer giving refunds after a complete show? Click here to vote and comment.
After a subpar performance Monday night in Value City Arena, Neil Diamond yesterday apologized and offered refunds to the 11,000 people who attended the concert.
"Dear Fans in Columbus," the singer said in a statement, "I haven't let you down before, and I won't let you down now. Until you hear from me again remember, You are the sun. I am the moon. You are the words. I am the tune. Forgive me. I love you. Neil."
Diamond, whose voice was extremely hoarse throughout the show, said yesterday that he is suffering from acute laryngitis. Ordered by doctors to rest his voice, he canceled his two other shows this week -- today in Green Bay, Wis., and Friday in St. Louis.
Some industry veterans said they'd never heard of a performer offering refunds because of the quality of the show.
Tracy Tucker, former executive director of Germain Amphitheater, couldn't recall giving a refund for such a reason in the 14 years of the amphitheater.
"The only time we issued refunds was when an advertised act did not play, for some reason," she said.
A throat ailment for a singer isn't unusual, especially for someone such as Diamond, who is 67 and performing three times a week on a lengthy tour.
Still, some fans, who paid $19.50 to $120 per ticket, wondered why he went on with the show if he could barely talk, let alone sing.
When Diamond took the stage, it became immediately apparent that his voice had been reduced to a harsh rasp.
"The first five minutes were very painful," said Sharon Moitis, 66, of Galena. "It was just very sad. I got tears in my eyes when he was struggling on Solitary Man. It was a poignant song to be singing because he was indeed a solitary man."
Many fans left the show early, some demanding their money back. Value City offered some departing fans tickets for Celine Dion's Sept. 22 show in exchange for their Diamond seats.
Marci Stitzlein, who attended the show with a friend, left after the fourth song. She said issuing a refund was the least Diamond could do.
"I sing, myself, on the side, so I understand the whole thing of wanting to not let the fans down," said Stitzlein, 44. "But this was a bigger disappointment for him to have tried to do the show, knowing how sick he was."
Janene Bushey, who is 53 and has seen Diamond 14 times, said, "I about fainted when he came out and said, 'Hello, Columbus,' because I knew something was wrong."
"It was painful," Bushey added. "My heart ached for him. It was painful for him and me both."
The refund, she said, "is fine, but I would have been thrilled to have another concert."
PromoWest Productions President Scott Stienecker, who books shows in Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, also said he's never heard of a performer offering refunds for a poor performance.
"It's unfortunate, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. I've sat through Vince Neil falling-down drunk before. I've sat through Bob Dylan not even acknowledging that there was a crowd.
"It's unfortunate, but (Diamond) made it, he was here ready, willing and able."
That's slight consolation for fans such as Roger Moody, of Westerville.
Moody, 65, bought eight tickets with a face value of $120 each to take his wife, children and grandchildren.
"If it had just been me and my wife, I'd have gotten up and left," said Moody, who stayed for the duration of the show.
"I didn't know whether to feel sorry for the guy or appreciate that he gave it a try, but he should have known that that was so far off-base."
Like many of the more than 100 people who called The Dispatch and left comments at, Moody left the show wondering why Diamond didn't acknowledge his ailing voice during the concert.
Diamond issuing refunds, however, left Moody "utterly flabbergasted."
"In all due respect," he said, "if anybody was going to do it, I would think that this gentleman would."
Others said they enjoyed the show and admired Diamond for going on with it.
"I loved it," said Carolyn Wilkins, 64, of Clintonville. "I recognized that his voice was a little raspy, but it was a gift to be there. In my book, he did great, especially knowing that he was not feeling well. He's my inspiration."
Will she take the Jazz Singer up on his refund offer?
"I don't think so," Wilkins said before pausing.
"Well, I'll mull it tonight."

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