On Saturday, March 07, guests gathered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for Keep Memory Alive’s 24th annual Power of Love® gala. The luxurious affair—including a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner by Chefs Wolfgang Puck and Masaharu Morimoto, a spectacular live auction, live concert, and after-party—honored the legendary singer/songwriter Neil Diamond; and also included the presentation of the Keep Memory Alive Community Leadership Award to Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson.
The all-star line-up of entertainers began their Neil Diamond tribute concert, with Billy Ray Cyrus giving a rousing performance of "I'm a Believer” (1971), followed by swoon-worthy crooner Chris Isaak's cover of "Solitary Man" (1966). Then, Derek Hough introduced Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Katlyn Nichols' soulful rendition of Diamond’s famous duet with his high school classmate, Barbra Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (1978); after which Kelsey Grammer brought out Sammy Hagar, who performed Diamond’s "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime" (1967).
Next, Jimmy Kimmel joined KMA Founder/Chairman Larry Ruvo to present Neil Diamond with an award in honor of his impactful musical contributions to the world, followed by a proclamation of March 07 as Neil Diamond Day in Las Vegas.
"I love Las Vegas, and I love Neil Diamond,” proclaimed Kimmel. “Not only do I love Neil, but my parents love him, my friends love him, my children love him. Neil Diamond is an amazing songwriter and singer, and I think you will agree that no Jewish man looks better in sequins than Neil Diamond."
On accepting his honorific, Diamond said, "I'm feeling great. This is an important thing they're doing, and I feel honored to be part of and take part in it."
But this is where the Power of Love gala would once again make history; because Neil Diamond—who, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, had retired from touring in 2018—took to the stage (in the same MGM Grand Garden Arena where he had performed so many times, before) and performed live, for the first time in two years. And boy, did he let his hits fly!
As the audience sang along, danced, and generally carried on, cheering their much-beloved icon; Diamond belted out “Hello Again” (1981), “Forever in Blue Jeans” (1979), “Cracklin’ Rosie” (1970), “Love on the Rocks” (1981), “I Am… I Said” (1971), and “September Morn” (1979). Then, bandleader Greg Phillinganes played the opening bars of “Sweet Caroline” (1969), and anyone who might’ve still been seated jumped up and sang along with Diamond—as well as Cyrus, Kimmel, Hagar, Isaak, and Nichols, who Diamond referred to as "the greatest back-up band in the world," and who'd joined the entertainer to bring it all home—to what must rank among the most beloved English language songs in international karaoke/sing-a-long history (so good, So Good, SO GOOD!).
At the end of the night, millions of dollars had been raised for the continued care of the patients and caregivers of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and its ongoing mission to find cures for and eradicate neurodegenerative disorders. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Power of Love® gala’s 25th Anniversary edition, returning to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, on Saturday, May 22, 2021. I’ll see y’all, there!
Keep Memory Alive’s 24th annual Power of Love® gala
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Saturday, March 07
Click HERE for info
Get into it!