Neil Diamond’s classic definitive album was called “Hot August Night.” Here in northern New Jersey it was a beautiful cool New Jersey night. It was a pleasant, cool 70 degrees in Bloomfield, New Jersey on the first of July. My wife and I heard about a free concert and fireworks display in Brookdale Park not far from us. We knew it was going to be packed so we got here extra early at 5:30 p.m.
The local newspapers said the concert was by band called “Simply Diamond” which was a Neil Diamond Tribute band which would start at 7:30 and the fireworks would follow afterwards when it got dark. We packed our lounge chairs in the car and headed out.
When we got there people were already arriving and we had to park alongside the road winding through the park not too far of a walking distance. We found a nice comfortable spot in the large field there where everyone was settling in and settled there. There were refreshment stands that sold Pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, zeppolies , funnel cakes and soda. They were slightly pricey with a hot dog going for $3 and a can of soda for $2. I got my wife a hot dog and a soda for me. They also had many port-a-potties set up in long rows which were very neat and organized.
The crowds were very friendly and orderly. There were people of all ages, senior citizens, teenagers, families, couples dating, little kids playing, families on blankets all very peaceful and warm atmosphere. It was a pleasant change from reading about all the rioting, shootings and lootings by unruly mobs in the papers today. At approximately 7:30 the band came out. A young woman started the festivities and sang the Star Spangled Banner and everyone rose to their feet. She had a powerful voice and sang it note for note and word for word perfect, unlike these stupid celebrities who sing it and flub the words. “Simply Diamond” were superb and did all of Neil Diamond’s hits and got everyone singing along and some people dancing up front. The lead singer sounded like Neil as best he could and wore a shiny gold lame jacket and played guitar. Then band did all his hits including “I’m a believer,” “I am, I said,” “Coming to America,””Cracklin’Rosie,” “Song Sung Blue” and many others ending with the all time classics “Brother Loves’ Traveling Salvation Show” and “Sweet Caroline” which got the whole field singing along. They played for about two hours. It was such a nice relaxing feeling to sit out in the cool summer evening weather about 70 degrees and hear great music.
By this time there was close to 500,000 people in attendance when the fireworks started. It was super spectacular display that lasted about 20 minutes and greatly received.
Getting out was a little bit longer so we waited until a lot of people left. Some people saw us still sitting there and asked if we were staying for breakfast. 😀 When we got to our car I waited until a good portion of the crowd left so I wouldn’t be sitting in line with the gas running and not moving. Kudos should go to Essex County Park Commission and the great efforts of the Essex county police and first responders for having such a well organized exit strategy for everyone. There were no riots, impatient horn honking or hot heads prevailing and everyone was patient. It was another Woodstock, man.!! LOL 😀