Neil Diamond

Live at the Greek Theatre 1976

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In the summer of 1976, Neil Diamond returned to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, the site of his breakthrough Hot August Night show of 1972. This time, he didn't only bring along the audio recording equipment, however, but also a crew of videotape cameramen, and the result was both another million-selling double live album, Love at the Greek, and also a home video of the same title, with a different song list. Apparently, somewhere along the way, the rights to the video got into someone else's hands in Europe, resulting in the DVD re-release Live at the Greek Theatre 1976, and apparently rights to the video version also entailed rights to release an audio disc as well, such that here is, essentially, an alternate version of Love at the Greek on CD, also called Live at the Greek Theatre 1976. This disc conforms to the song list from the video, minus a couple of songs, which means that, while it shares seven tracks with the Love at the Greek LP, it also includes four others making their audio debuts: "Cherry, Cherry," "Play Me," "Cracklin' Rosie," and "I Am...I Said." That may be enough to interest fervent Diamond fans, even though the sound quality here is iffy and the edits, conforming to the video, sometimes truncate the songs. This is, of course, a triumphant as well as a hammy performance, which features Diamond's shout-outs to such notables as L.A. mayor Tom Bradley and, in an extended "Song Sung Blue," his invitations to Helen Reddy and Henry Winkler to come on-stage and take a chorus. (To Winkler, of the TV show Happy Days, Diamond commands, "Do it like the Fonz would do it," and the actor obliges.) The Love at the Greek album is a far better version of it, however.