Watch Neil Diamond Return From Retirement for Firefighters
Neil Diamond made a surprise return from retirement over the weekend when he delivered a short performance for Colorado firefighters, who have been battling to contain a wildfire in the Lake Christine area for nearly a month.
It’s the first time Diamond has been seen onstage since announcing the end of his career in January as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
“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.”
He then led them through a performance of classic track “Sweet Caroline,” which you can watch below.
Announcing his retirement earlier this year, 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.