Neil Diamond sings his thanks to Colorado firefighters

NEIL DIAMOND:  Sings "Sweet Caroline" for firefighters fighting a blaze near his home

Neil Diamond may have retired from touring due to the onset of Parkinson's Disease, but that doesn't mean that under the right circumstances he can't pick up his guitar and lead a singalong.

The circumstances were right on Friday when he and his wife visited an incident command post outside Basalt, Colorado, near where he's owned a home for two decades. The area -- in the Roaring Fork Valley, near Aspen -- is in the throes of the Lake Christine Fire, which has burned more than 12,000 acres since it started in early July and was still less than 50 percent contained as of Saturday morning. Nearly 500 firefighters are working to extinguish the blaze.

In a large auditorium at the command post, Diamond picked up his guitar and played "Sweet Caroline" for those who were on hand. They responded as audiences everywhere have, singing along with him and adding the obligatory fills in all the right places.

Before he sang, he addressed the firefighters -- many of who'd come from far away, telling them, "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 and 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."

 
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