IFNeil Diamond's current 50th Anniversary Tour does indeed turn out to be the singer's swansong concert performances then, on the evidence of the man's recent show at the Manchester Arena which kicked off the UK leg of his trek around the world, he really is bowing out right at the top of his game.

Now well into the sixth decade of his remarkable singing career, the seventy-six year old Diamond, whilst he no longer moves around the stage with the same speed and levels of energy as he did back in the Seventies, he nevertheless retains a voice that has been seemingly untouched by the passage of time.

For two hours Diamond held his adoring audience right where he has always had them, in the palm of his hand and took them on a wonderful trip that revisited all the decades of his glittering career including fabulous renditions of some of his earliest recorded songs such as Cherry Cherry, Solitary Man, Play Me and September Morn.

Diamond was backed by a flawless thirteen strong band, which featured a four piece brass section and two female backing singers, many of whom have been on the road and in the studio with the singer for most of his career and not only did they shine collectively, they each got their chance to

demonstrate their stunning individual talents during the band introductions segment of the show.

The night's most poignant moment came when Diamond announced that he was dedicating his concert to the memory of the "twenty-two fallen angels" who were tragically and senselessly cut down in the terrorist attack at the Arena back in May at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande gig.

He also promised that he would be making a sizeable donation from the evenings takings to the victims' support fund, a most classy gesture, and the powerful rendition of his song Dry Your Eyes that immediately followed certainly resulted in many present reaching for the tissues to wipe away a tear or two.

The hits flowed thick and fast throughout the concert and not surprisingly, it was sing-a-long crowd favourites like Song Sung Blue and Forever In Blue Jeans that really went down a treat with the crowd.

Of the ballads Diamond served up on the night it was Love On The Rocks from the movie The Jazz Singer and the autobiographical Brooklyn Roads and I Am I Said which were the undoubted highlights.

The night's proceedings were brought to an end with rousing renditions of Sweet Caroline, Cracklin Rose and the always stirring, gospel tinged, Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show. Rest assured, this is one Diamond that still requires no polish for he continues to shine every bit as brightly now as he has always done.