Neil Diamond made a rare post-retirement live appearance Saturday to sing “Sweet Caroline” at the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
The crooner had previously performed his hit song at Fenway – in 2010 and again in 2013, days after the Boston Marathon bombings – but Saturday was his first time back at the stadium since retiring from touring in 2018 due to his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
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Despite the Red Sox being down 10-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals, fans rapturously sang along with Diamond on “Sweet Caroline,” which has been an 8th inning anthem at Fenway Park since 1997.
The Red Sox tradition led to a resurgence of the 1969 single over the past 25 years, which in turn inspired other cultural moments: Teams in other sports – including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers – also added “Sweet Caroline” singalongs to their in-stadium playlists . Jennifer Lopez sang it as part of the Vax Live concert in 2021, and earlier this month, the British people voted to have “Sweet Caroline” sung by Rod Stewart at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Diamond retired from touring in 2018 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease; though at the time he pledged “to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come,” he’s only made increasingly rare live appearances since.
As NESN noted, Diamond’s Fenway appearance was to celebrate the opening of his new musical Neil Diamond: A Beautiful Noise at Boston’s Emerson Colonial for a six-week residency, after which the show will move to Broadway this fall following a lengthy pandemic delay. At Fenway, Diamond was accompanied by actor Will Swenson, who stars in A Beautiful Noise.
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