Neil Diamond Makes Rare Public Appearance to Lead ‘Sweet Caroline’ Sing-a-Long at Red Sox Game

Neil Diamond made a rare public appearance at Fenway Park Saturday to join Boston Red Sox fans in singing along to “Sweet Caroline.” Diamond, 81, retired from performing in 2018 after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but he was in Boston to attend the world premiere of A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical. The musical will open on Broadway after a six-week engagement in Boston.

This was Diamond’s third time singing “Sweet Caroline” in Fenway. He sang the song with the crowd at the Red Sox’s opening night in 2010. Three years later, he returned to Fenway weeks after the Boston Marathon Bombing. The Red Sox started playing the 1969 song in 1997, and it became a permanent eighth-inning tradition in 2002. 

Diamond was joined by Broadway veteran Will Swanson, who stars in A Beautiful Noise, notes Billboard. The musical premieres at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre on June 21 and will continue through July 21. Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) directed the production, with choreography by Steven Hoggett (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes) wrote the book.

“Neil’s music is very accessible regardless of where you are in the course of your life,” star Mark Jacoby told the Boston Herald. “The fact that most of it was written in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s doesn’t pigeonhole it… You can tell the young people in our show, they’re loving it. They are loving what they are doing.”

After the living legend finished his 50th-anniversary tour, Diamond announced his retirement from performing after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said in January 2018. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.” Diamond went on to add, “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good.'”

Diamond began his incredible career writing songs for other artists in the 1960s before he began recording his own hits in 1966. He continued performing up until 2018. He released his most recent album of original songs, Melody Road, in 2014. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. 

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