1972’s HOT AUGUST NIGHTS is generally recognized as not just the definitive Neil Diamond work, but as one of the most exciting live albums of all time. Consequently, expectations were high when the Brooklyn native decided to release a DVD of a sold out Madison Square Garden concert as HOT AUGUST NIGHTS NYC. Any trepidation was unnecessary, however, as both the video document and the accompanying CD find the legendary singer-songwriter more than living up to his title as “the Jewish Elvis.” Throughout, Diamond seems to feed off the hometown crowd’s positive vibe, strutting around the stage not simply singing, but truly communicating the lyrics to iconic pop hits such as the jaunty “Forever in Blue Jeans,” the rousing immigrant anthem “America,” and the all-time party classic “Sweet Caroline.” Diamond’s backup band is right there with him, delivering tight, spirited, dynamic performances that avoid any trace of schmaltziness, making even the singer’s timeworn chestnuts sound fresh. Thirty-five years after the release of its namesake, HOT AUGUST NIGHTS NYC proved that Neil Diamond was still an electrifying performer.
AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach