The show was October 11, 2001. We'd bought the tickets a year in advance. Everyone was still totally freaked out—we even talked about not going. It was the first time we'd left the apartment to do anything but buy groceries and go to work since the towers fell. Madison Square Garden was half-full of twitchy people looking around for the fire exits. A waving American flag was projected onto the stage curtain, which slowly rose to reveal Neil Diamond: his back to the crowd, wearing white sequin jeans.

"If music has the power to heal," he announced, in a voice as loud and deep as God's, "let the healing begin!" He spun around and launched into "America," and the crowd went balls-out ape shit. And you should've heard "Sweet Caroline."

Jennifer KnoxComment