Neil Diamond, born Jan. 24, 1941, has sold more than 115 million records, scored eight number one hits, had his songs covered by scores of other artists and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Kennedy Center Honors.
This weekend, Gelston Castle Estate will pay tribute to one of the most successful songwriters of the past 50 years when it hosts the Neil Diamond Birthday Marathon Weekend.
A three-night affair, the activities will begin Friday with screenings of Diamond’s 1988 concert at the Aquarius in Los Angeles, Calif., and his 2001 concert at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
“The shows are different as the first took place before a very small audience in an intimate setting, while the second took place in front of tens of thousands of people in an outdoor soccer stadium,” said event planner Bill Schmelcher. “The concerts show the range of Diamond’s performances.”
Friday’s screenings on the large video screen at Chateau Safflyn will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission will be $10, with snacks and beverages available for a nominal fee.
The weekend’s events will continue Saturday evening with a screening of Diamond’s 2008 “Hot August Night NYC” concert at Madison Square Garden and his 1980 film “The Jazz Singer.”
“‘Hot August Night’ was a double live album Neil Diamond released in 1972. Some 36 years later, he performed a show at Madison Square Garden that become known as ‘Hot August Night NYC,’ in which he sang many of his biggest hits as well as some of his newer songs. It’s a great concert that is sure to please any Neil Diamond fan, as it truly captures how great of a performer he is,” said Schmelcher.
As with Friday night’s presentation, the 2 1/2 hour concert and PG-rated film will be screened on the large video screen at Chateau Safflyn from 6 to 11 p.m. Admission will be $15.
The celebration will conclude Sunday with a screening of Diamond’s 1976 “Thank You Australia Concert,” which in addition to a number of his more popular songs includes a set of songs from his soundtrack to “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” The screening will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in Chateau Safflyn and admission will be $10, $5 for individuals who attended the Jan. 26 screening and $2 for individuals who attended the screenings on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26.
All three evenings will include an intermission and a presentation on Diamond’s career and his place in music history as the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever, according to Billboard.
“It’s going to be a great weekend for Neil Diamond fans and music fans in general,” said Schmelcher. “As with our tributes to John Denver and the Bee Gees, there won’t be a bad seat in the house thanks to the large video screen and sound equipment we have. Every seat will be a front row seat.”