Neil Diamond was asked about his health on Saturday night, and he answered that he felt good enough to sing.
“When?” he was asked.
“How about tonight?” he said, grinning.
Diamond was indeed prepping to sing, and had rehearsed “Sweet Caroline” to close the the 24th annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala before 1,500 attendees at MGM Grand Garden. Diamond had announced his retirement from live performance because of Parkinson’s disease in 2018. Thus, the show-stopping number was to be the first time he would sing in public since Aug. 12, 2017, at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
“I am working on an album right now, and I am listening exclusively to me,” Diamond said. “A few days ago I worked with Stevie Wonder, on a song I’d written awhile ago. It’s just great to be with him. It’s almost finished, it’s just me for the most part. I’ll just have to fill up the space as much as I can.”
Along with honoring Diamond, KMA presented the 2020 Community Leadership Award to Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sheldon Adelson for their extensive philanthropic support and contributions to medical research, education and many Jewish causes and organizations.
Sheldon Adelson is CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian and Palazzo, and his family owns the Review-Journal.
The Adelsons also founded the Adelson Educational Campus and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research; and have long supported philanthropic efforts globally, particularly in Israel.
Miriam Adelson spoke for the couple from the stage as she was introduced by event co-founder Larry Ruvo. The couple are longtime supporters of Ruvo’s efforts to combat brain disorders.
“Look around you, friends. Take in this spectacular venue,” Miriam Adelson said from the podium. “Ahead of us is a night of splendid entertainment … when you laugh, when you clap, when you shed tears, when you sing along while enjoying these great talents, remember it will all amount to very little if you lose your mental faculties.”
Ruvo presented her with a photo art piece from renowned photographer Ryszard Horowitz, known to be among the youngest Holocaust survivors. Horowitz was depicted as a child in Steven Spielberg “Schindler’s List” and appears in the final scene with mourners at Schindler’s grave. Ruvo also gifted the Adelsons a medal of appreciation; noting that Miriam Adelson has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump.
A film introducing the couple starred iconic entertainment executive Irving Azoff and his wife, Shelli, and former Sen. Harry Reid, who joked, “I knew Sheldon when he was a Democrat,” while praising the couple’s long history of philanthropy.
Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said, “We want to thank you for helping make our dreams come true with the most magnificent stadium in the NFL.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak and entertainment legend Paul Anka also paid tribute. Anka sang a version of “My Way” to the Adelsons and for the night, singing, “For tonight’s honorees, this chance I seize, I salute them my way.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.