Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special (1993) (TV Special)

It starts a little slow (and cheesy) with a signature "Neil" version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that gave me cause for pause. Continuing on to "Little Drummer Boy", Mr. Diamond settles in for a very pleasant, noticably diverse holiday evening of song. Next, "The Christmas Song" and then an unexpected Cat Stevens favorite, "Morning Has Broken", which segues nicely into a very solemn "Silent Night". Overall the performances may lack the energy of Neil's live shows but the compositions and arrangements and the very wide array of supporting acts, choirs and ensembles are excellent. Sometime before the hour is over you WILL see a barbershop quartet, for example. Next was the only song I could not identify (maybe you can) but "White Christmas" needs no introduction, although sadly this is the worst (IMHO) selection of the night. One of everyone's favorites but they cheese it up real good to nobody's benefit. From there another surprise, "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" one of John Lennon's many gifts, this one is sweet. The second half is better than the first and brings the production to a very satisfying finish. "God Rest Ye Merry Men", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", "You Make It Feel Like Christmas" (a forgettable ND original), "O Holy Night" and wrapping with a reprise of "Silent Night". Other than the big man there is no other star power. Personally, I think it's great that a guy who's gotta know everybody (we're talking Neil Diamond!) doesn't go out of his way to make this a celebrity driven glomfest. Lots of great faces and voices, big and small. Merry Christmas.

Neil Diamond: The Christmas Special (1993) (TV Special)
Cast: Neil Diamond, Assorted Choirs and Ensembles

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