Neil Diamond, who announced his retirement in January due to Parkinson's, made a surprise return when he held a short performance for the Colorado firefighters who have been battling to contain a wildfire in the Lake Christine area for the better part of a month.
“I want to take you all home, I want to give you a kiss, I want to make dinner for you and I just want to say thank you from the people of this area for coming down," Diamond told his audience of hundreds at the fire command post in Basalt, near his home. "This town has not been this happy since, I don’t know … I’ve been here for 20 years and you’ve made everybody happier. The heaviness on our hearts is gone and we know the cavalry is here, and we say thank you to each of you for making this trip.”
Diamond led them through a performance of his classic track, Sweet Caroline.
(Seriously, who can hear this song and NOT sing along??)
Diamond said the "onset of the disease has made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis. … I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”
The Lake Christine fire is reported to have been started on July 3 by two people firing tracer bullets in hot, dry weather. It's now ranged more than 12,000 acres in size, with approximately 40 percent of it contained, with 404 firefighters engaged in the battle.