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Neil Diamond at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Neil Diamond at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. (Photo: milwaukeeoldies.com)

5 things my friend Frost learned at last night's Neil Diamond show

Frost Williams from VISIT Milwaukee went to last night's Neil Diamond concert at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. 

Here are five observations from the show, in his words, and a full list set.

1.Nostalgic or not, Neil Diamond is pure Americana (no pun intended).  From his songs about growing up in New York with "Brooklyn Roads" to the anthem "America," there are very few singer/songwriters that stand up to his discography. Even without "Kentucky Woman," "Longfellow Serenade," "Hello again" and "Shilo" on Thursday night, the 25 songs performed in the hour and 50 minute set were very memorable.

2. Neil is a crowd pleaser.  He released a new album in 2014 "Melody Road" that certainly spurred this tour.  And, he performed three songs from this album, "Nothing but a Heartache," "In Better Days" and "The Art of Love."  Each of them were enjoyable, but certainly not as known as his long songbook of hits that he performed.  The list, of course, included the highly singable "Heartlight" and "Sweet Caroline."

3. He's truly generational.  It was not a "Hot, August Night" like three of his live recordings have documented, but more a dreary, rainy spring night in Milwaukee. With that said, a large audience certainly came out for Neil. He kept thanking Wisconsin, not just Milwaukee as last night's crowd came from all over the region. The BMO Harris Bradley Center was over 90 percent full (by my eye) and with an average age of 45+, dare I say 50.  Looking around my immediate area in the lower bowl, it was magical to see an older generation singing, smiling and dancing with a performer that has endeared himself to so many in all generations. It is wonderful to know that he very well could next perform in a new Arena in three years.

4. He's a pop culture icon for decades. He truly peaked in the 70s as a solo artist but his hits from "I’m a Believer" to "Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon" have spanned some 50 years of pop culture lexicon. Neil Diamond also has been covered by so m…

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Beer, brats and underground ramen in The Washington Post.
Beer, brats and underground ramen in The Washington Post. (Photo: Molly Snyder )

Washington Post toasts Milwaukee "beyond the beer and brats"

I've often said that beer and brats are, today, a great (and important) side dish to everything else we have in greater Milwaukee.  So, it's nice to see The Washington Post and Chicago journalist,  Guidebook author and traveler Kate Silver agree.

Yesterday's Travel Section on Washingtonpost.com includes a feature story titled "Venturing beyond the beer and brats in Milwaukee."  It toasts ramen at Ardent, the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the area, Leon's Frozen Custard, Sobelman's and more.

Katy Deardorff, Communications Manager at VISIT Milwaukee worked with the writer to develop this story this winter.

Read the full story here.

The Play it Forward coalition is helping move sports and music development ahead.
The Play it Forward coalition is helping move sports and music development ahead.

Sports and music truly play it forward

While I do my best to live my life with faith, family and friends in first place I think I've "discovered" the two "things" that truly bind us all.

Sports and music.

I could add food to the above list, and really as you drill down, the list could go on and on.  But in this day where all politics are too often divisive and media segmented; cities and states are segregated and religions (while unifying within their communities) are not an all-for-one and one-for-all proposition, I'm in on sports and music and here's why. 

At all levels, sports bring people together. Sure you can not like a team, player, coach or call. But when a team wins, loses, plays hard or just entertains, a community takes note and the elevation of endorphins escalate for the greater good.

The University of Wisconsin is winning. The Bucks are battling. The Brewers? Hope springs eternal this time of year. And, the Packers -- while heartbreaking for some -- are the focus of Sundays and more in Wisconsin. Marquette's ready to soar under a new coach.

Sports matter. Especially in our state. Sports build partnerships, make us cheer, smile, laugh, cry and care. I may not care about your kid's soccer game, but you do, and the lessons learned from sports transcend traditional teaching and lay ground work for all aspects of life.

And, then there's music. Music is life. Again, we may not all listen to the same artists, genres or generations of tunes, but music is everywhere. Live, streaming, in our theaters and arenas and in our heads. We sing alone, with thousands at concerts, and pretty much everywhere in between.

Sports and music matter, and investing in sports and music matters.

As I've written before, I worked on the lobbying and public relations team during the Miller Park saga/process. It was fascinating and full of passion. At the heart of the "should we build the Brewers a new ballpark" process was the fact that NOTHING else can truly bring a community together in a big way like sports.

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Would you live in a micro home?
Would you live in a micro home? (Photo: shutterstock.com)

How long until the micro apartment craze comes to Milwaukee?

Extreme tiny homes are all the buzz these days. 

Eco-friendly, small homes are making headway into media, TV shows and larger and larger cities. New York has a micro apartment program and Chicago is poised to build on the micro living trend in Logan Square.

So, as apartment development continues to grow in and around greater Downtown Milwaukee when will the micro apartment craze hit here? 

It is appealing, isn't it?  Less space, less stuff and less cash for rent. 

Where would these tiny, cool, micro apartments work in Milwaukee? Would you live in one? 

Chime in, and let's start building on this trend here in Milwaukee.