Memories of Old Glory

I have a lot of July 4th memories from my 40 years of touring with Neil Diamond. There was 1976, when I was still a new guy on the band, when we played for the grand opening of the Aladdin Theater of the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. It was the country’s bicentennial, and on the 4th we gathered on the roof of the Jockey Club, where we were staying, to observe fireworks emanating from Caesar’s Palace up the street. And we gathered in Mr. Diamond’s suite for the wedding of Richard and Tina Bennett. 

A decade later, we performed at what was called Liberty Weekend, celebrating the grand re-opening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been closed for remodeling. 

The Statue of Liberty and the Bennetts’ marriage, by the way, have outlasted the Aladdin Theater, which was imploded in 1998. 

But right now I’m thinking about the 4th of July, 2009. The country was in a better place then. We had a properly-elected president, one we could believe and believe in, and we didn’t have to be ashamed of a country which holds children in concentration camps. 

In 2009, I was in Boston with our band, to play with the Boston Pops for a concert that was televised live with the wonderful Craig Ferguson as presenter. 

I got to chat with Mr. Ferguson, and we talked about our then-recent concert in Glasgow, Scotland, his home town. 

I told him it had rained heavily as we played at the Hampden Park stadium but the audience, attired in umbrellas and trash-bag raincoats, seemed not to care, perhaps because they were drinking so heartily that night. 

“That’s what they do there,” he told me. “It wasn’t until I left Glasgow that I realized I was an alcoholic.” 

Ten years later, becoming an alcoholic seems like a rational decision in a country that has become a caricature of itself, and is ruled by a tyrant who spends tax dollars to turn a once-inspiring celebration into a partisan rally for himself. 

So today, I think I’ll find a video of that 2009 4th of July, and pretend for a little while that everything since 2016 has been wiped clean.

10 comments

  • Ann Edridge

    Ann Edridge London uk

    I love reading your stories please keep them up Tom

    I love reading your stories please keep them up Tom

  • Malcolm conlan

    Malcolm conlan London

    Hi Tom Thanks for sharing these awesome memories. Lovely to have met you personally a few times, we met at the London Eye when I brought you guys onboard, and thanks for sharing about Neil too. Best wishes Malcolm

    Hi Tom

    Thanks for sharing these awesome memories. Lovely to have met you personally a few times, we met at the London Eye when I brought you guys onboard, and thanks for sharing about Neil too.

    Best wishes

    Malcolm

  • Evelyn

    Evelyn UK

    Thank you for the memories Tom. I've been with you all at a few 4 July shows - one in particular remains in my mind - Merriweather Post Pavilion where Neil wore that amazing shirt!

    Thank you for the memories Tom. I've been with you all at a few 4 July shows - one in particular remains in my mind - Merriweather Post Pavilion where Neil wore that amazing shirt!

  • Marijke Ederveen

    Marijke Ederveen Holland

    I always love to read your memories! Love you!

    I always love to read your memories! Love you!

  • Sue Tibbets

    Sue Tibbets Fort Wayne, IN

    Tom You make me smile. Every time I read one of your missives - it makes me proud that in an odd way - you have been a part of my life through Neil Diamond. Don't ever stop being you & speaking your mind.

    Tom
    You make me smile. Every time I read one of your missives - it makes me proud that in an odd way - you have been a part of my life through Neil Diamond. Don't ever stop being you & speaking your mind.

  • Jay White

    Jay White Las Vegas

    Tom always great to remember the good old days! King, Mark the band and I are on our way to Philadelphia for show tomorrow night. Hope you can join us sometime soon. Have a great holiday!

    Tom always great to remember the good old days! King, Mark the band and I are on our way to Philadelphia for show tomorrow night. Hope you can join us sometime soon. Have a great holiday!

  • Remie Hartman

    Remie Hartman The Netherlands

    Wonderfull storie, I mis the band and the music, and the singer Neil Diamond . I hope you keep writing. Thanks for all those beautiful music

    Wonderfull storie, I mis the band and the music, and the singer Neil Diamond . I hope you keep writing. Thanks for all those beautiful music

  • Richard Anderson

    Richard Anderson Sun City AZ

    Why you had to ruin this 4th of July memory with partisan politics is sad, but a committed leftist JUST HAS to express his hate. Surely you know that those "concentration camps" were built by "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor" Obama. "Believe and believe in"? Just sad. Shame on you.

    Why you had to ruin this 4th of July memory with partisan politics is sad, but a committed leftist JUST HAS to express his hate. Surely you know that those "concentration camps" were built by "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor" Obama. "Believe and believe in"? Just sad. Shame on you.

  • Lesley Hopman

    Lesley Hopman The Netherlands

    Thank you for sharing your memories with us. Always love to read them. Please, keep doing this.

    Thank you for sharing your memories with us. Always love to read them. Please, keep doing this.

  • Shona McLean

    Shona McLean New Zealand

    Love reading your reminisces Tom

    Love reading your reminisces Tom

Add comment