""Hot August Night 2" is not Neil Diamond's most recent CD (released in 1987), but it is filled with many of his "classics," most of which he still does in concert today. But the real reason I was prompted to write a review was all the negative criticisms that others on this website are making. I thought this was an absolutely fantastic concert CD of some wonderful old (and a couple of new -- well, new for 1987) songs. How can people think he's not energetic in this recording? I think he sounds wound up and excited the whole way through. Some have remarked that he sings "off key" in a few songs, but all he really does is slip into a harmony line instead of a melody line. It still sounds good, just a little different from the original studio recording of the songs, and is a lot different from singing "off key." And as for the charge that he just shouts all the time, I listened through the CD again with this comment in mind, and the only song that is predominantly shouted is the last one (before the encore), "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," and Diamond is so charged up with energy for that song that it still comes off very well. Does "Brother Love" sound like the studio recording? No. But wow, does it sound good!Neil Diamond leaves out some of his older hits (e.g., Solitary man, Shilo, Girl You'll Be a Woman, Play Me), but he includes some more recent ones that weren't written yet for "Hot August Night 1" (such as America, Forever in Blue Jeans, You Don't Bring Me Flowers). Also, the new songs ("Back in L.A." and "I Dreamed a Dream" from the Les Miserables musical) sound fantastic!I can't understand why any Neil Diamond fan wouldn't love this CD. My parents listened to Neil Diamond music throughout my childhood, but I never cared for it until I heard this CD -- this is what turned me into a lifelong fan! If you haven't heard it yet, do yourself a favor and get it!"
The sequel can't touch the original
Michel Aaij | Montgomery, AL | 05/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I picked this up for cheap while waiting for Hot August Night 1 to come in, but I wish I hadn't... It's got most of the great songs, but it's not a real good show. Both Diamond and the band sound flat and uninspired (although they warm up a bit after "I am...I said"). I'm sure this is better than the average Vegas-show, but not by much.His is one of the greatest voices in modern popular music, and of course the songs are good, but if you want to really hear Diamond at his best, get the first Hot August Night, or pick up a 'best of' collection."
A great album for old-time and novice Diamond fans.
Todd Grotenhuis | 10/04/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fun record to listen to. It contains a lot of Neil's hits (America, Sweet Caroline, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, etc.) along with a couple of lesser known songs. It's his ability to keep the old songs sounding fresh and energized that makes the CD such a pleasure to experience. If you liked his studio versions of his work, you will enjoy these live cuts as well. It may never be as popular as the original Hot August Night album, but it is a must for any Diamond fan. It is an excellent starter CD for the newcomers to the Diamond fan club, too."
Neil Diamond is a hero.
JFStepro | 10/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree that Back in LA is an awesome song. The whole album kicks rear. I had it on cassette and wore it out. While it could be a better album if it had "Play Me." on it, it has most of the other staples for a Neil Diamond fan. My only gripe is why doesn't Neil Diamond tour more? Or at least in the Midwest. Do a show in Wichita, Topeka, or Oklahoma City. There's a lot of us folks here who would appreciate it."
I Dreamed A Dream is worth 5 stars by itself!
JFStepro | Louisville KY. | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I Dreamed A Dream covered by Neil Diamond is worth owning this CD all by itself! Turn it up and it will send shivers down the spine of any musician or true music lover. Buy it!!"