Almost every city has a musical artist they call their own. Sometimes it's because the artist hails from their town. Often it's because the artist wrote a song about a town. In the case of the Quad Cities, our special bond with singer-songwriter Neil Diamond comes from the fact that he opened our first professional-grade arena.

In May 1993, a Neil Diamond concert was the first event at the then new The Mark of The Quad Cities - now called the TaxSlayer Center. It was a big night for the Quads. Years of redevelopment of the old John Deere factories on the riverfront in downtown Moline reach a pinnacle with the opening of the new arena, and Diamond was there to lead the celebration.

With yesterday's announcement that Neil Diamond has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Quad Citians are especially saddened, as we would be with the news that an old friend or member of the family had taken ill.

Despite a few name changes, our arena will always be remembered fondly as The Mark of The Quad Cities, and Neil Diamond will always be considered an honorary Quad Citian for helping us open our crown jewel.

All of us wish him well.

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