“We’ve already heard from Neil Diamond‘s Hot August Night on this list, arguably the greatest live album of all time. Or the best ending to one anyway, the fourth and final side, which kicks off with Holly Holy. Some have called it a Christmas song, which is odd, because Mr. Diamond is Jewish – what it is, is a gospel-inspired, wild and profound reach for (and grasp of) glory — a beautiful noise indeed. Because it’s not ironic, man, this stuff makes me live, man, let the seed be full with tomorrow, it doesn’t get more hopeful than that, man, and also the part about the lame man not just walking but flying – and then the song f***ing takes you there, beyond gravity. Because only music can. I’m paraphrasing my friend Steven here from better part of a decade ago, and I agreed with him, even if I needed about five drinks in me to bring myself to it. Or more to the point, back to it, because he wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t said myself (or tried to anyway) decades previous, twelve or thirteen, the first time Holly Holy sent me over the rainbow. The Hot August Night version being the version, hot band and small orchestra, and singer and song and audience all coalescing in one grand and miraculous f***ing slam.” (Philip Random)
Tag Archives: Hot August Night
417. Soolaimon + Brother Love
“File Neil Diamond’s double live Hot August Night in the Everything You Know Is Wrong category, certainly if you considered yourself even halfway cool in 1972. Because here was a guy that moms liked unleashing one of the greatest live albums the world had ever heard, particularly the climactic side four, the climax of which was a medley of Soolaimon (originally found on Taproot Manuscript) and Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show (originally found on the album of the same name) but neither of those originals came remotely close to the drama-power-glory of what happened that hot august night, August 1972, LA’s Greek Theatre. I’d go deeper into it all but I know my words would quickly fail. The temptation is to say, you had to be there, except I wasn’t. I was in some suburban rec-room a year later, bored with Cat Stevens and Three Dog Night, fourteen years old and ready to be saved. For a few minutes anyway.” (Philip Random)
36. The Solid Time Of Change
Installment #36 of the Solid Time of Change aired on Saturday May-6-2017 (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).
Podcast (Solid Time begins a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (sadly inaccurate).
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Thirty-Six of the journey went as follows:
- Jeff Wayne – Horsell Common + The Heat Ray
- Neil Diamond – Holly Holy
- Led Zeppelin – in the light
- Crosby Stills + Nash – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
- Yes – your move
- Yes – all good people
- Bob Dylan – desolation row
- Grobschnitt – solar music 
Fresh episodes air most Saturday nights, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
840. crunchy granola suite
Neil Diamond‘s Hot August Night, possibly the greatest live album ever released, starts well indeed with Crunchy Granola Suite, the power of which is only slightly negated when you realize it really is about eating well, lots of nuts and berries. From the album’s liner notes: “Then softly, the music begins, the lights dim. The music rises, the stage is a smoky, opalescent jewel in the darkness. But one light shines brighter than the others, a white pool in the brilliance, and for an instant, sound hangs suspended, only the air breathing. Then he’s there, the crowd exploding, Neil Diamond, casual, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, those 5000 people demanding his soul. And for the next 107 minutes, he gives it to them.”
Neil Diamond had it all by 1973. Millions of adoring fans, great hair, even a grudging sort of critical respectability in the wake of those recent live shows at the Greek Theater in L.A. So what does the man do with it all? He dives deep, he reaches high, he gives his all to a soundtrack for an awful movie based on a really dumb book about a seagull. Yet even in falling Icarus-like, Mr. Diamond soars “… as a page that aches for a word, which speaks on a theme that is timeless.”