The Valley Line: Diamond shines once more at the Greek

Back in 1972 when Neil Diamond performed and recorded his Hot August Night album, I was a “wannabe” attendee. I’ve been regretting all these years that I wasn’t there. I’m happy to report that 40 years later, on Aug. 23, I finally made it to the reprise of his Hot August Night concert at the famed Greek Theater.

Wow! It was so worth the wait because it was the best concert I have ever attended. The man is amazing. At the age of 72 he performed for more than two hours without a break. His stamina is unbelievable. I was exhausted just standing by my third row seat, dancing in place, singing along with him and clapping. It was a concert during which I didn’t want to sit down — and it appeared the rest of the audience shared my enthusiasm.

A surprise came when Diamond, knowing that comedienne and actor Jack Black was in the audience, called him to the stage. Black accommodated his request to help Diamond sing a chorus to “Sweet Caroline.” Black has quite a set of pipes — what a surprise to me. It was a magical bit of performing for both men.

I attended the concert with longtime former La Cañadans Alan and Charlotte Rubendall and Gretchen Gleason, all of whom were at the 1972 concert. Gretchen was one of the notorious “tree people” who watched the concert from the vantage of the trees at the edge of the open theater.

La Cañadans Becky and Chuck Gelhaar, who were also at the ’72 concert, attended Diamond’s return to the Greek on opening night last month.


Another traditional August event was the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn.’s Hamburger Night.

The expansive backyard of Sarah and Mayfield Marshall was a cool oasis where more than 100 people gathered to chat about summer news and the progress of our float. This was the 11th annual Hamburger Night for the association.

Jim Geoghegan and Dustin Crumb were the expert chefs as they grilled the hamburgers and added cheese when requested. Committee members whipped up the fixings such as baked beans and potato salad, served along with the other stuff that folks like on their burgers.

Of course, people brought along tasty hors d’oeuvres to munch on before dinner. Guests also provided fantastic desserts that disappeared very quickly.

The gathering of “floaters” included President Ann Neilson and her husband, Bob; Vera and Garth Gragg, Sue Beatty, Pam Wiedenbeck, Joel Smith, Adene and Jim Misamore, Gloria Winkley, Patti and Ross Newton, Jim Nielson, Peg Barber, Jean and Ron Zinc, Doris Patterson, Liz, Caroline and Bob Craven, Eremita Miranda, Larry Andreason, Gloria and Terry Beyer, Evie and Dick Barley, Judie and Walt Bakly, Pat Anderson, Lynn Jarvis, Darlene and Gordon Hoopes, Claire Slaughter, Bill Pounders, Julia Cameron and David Granish, Joyce and Bob Covey, Fran and Bill Evans, David Moffett and Lorie MacKenzie.

More August celebrants included Joyce Ruygrok, Brenda Gant and Jeff Hughes, Becky and Chuck Gelhaar, Nancy Thurston, Betty Jones, Mary and Daryal Gant, Sharlyn French, Dottie Ecker, Barbara and Rob McLinn, Gale and Tom Caswell, Rosemary Hook, Beth Neilson, Chuck Terhune, Darleen and Joel Peterson, Cynthia and John Benton, Charlotte Layland, Mary and Duane Batenhorst, John Burrows, Bobbie and Clyde Hemphill, Kevin Maloney, Chuck Hughes, Jean and Jerry Martin, Lillian and Roy Olofson, Peggy Hotaling, Marge Hanna, Bob and Vicki Dempsey, Kelly Geoghegan, Beryl Arbit, Julie Thurston and Dee Montgomery.

The next Happy Hour will be at the home of Nana and Joel Smith at 4544 Hillard Ave., at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Anyone over 18 is invited to attend, and no reservation is required. Just bring an appetizer to share and enjoy a fun, casual evening with your friends, old and new, all in support of LCFTRA’s 2013 Rose Parade float.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

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