The singer tells PEOPLE about his impromptu performance at Fenway Park

By Kevin O'Donnell Peter Mikelbank
April 21, 2013 01:20 PM
Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters/Landov

Like many Americans, Neil Diamond was so moved by the tragedy in Boston over the past week that he wanted to do his part to help.

And he did so like only an iconic singer could.

As soon as Diamond heard that the Boston Red Sox game would go on as planned Saturday (after Dzokhar Tsarnzev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect was caught) he felt he needed to be there, his rep tells PEOPLE. So the singer and his wife took a red-eye flight across the country Friday night so he’d be able to express his support.

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Arriving at Fenway directly from the airport, Diamond lifted the spirits of Boston residents with a surprise performance of “Sweet Caroline,” the team’s unofficial anthem.

It was a bright moment for the city that has been immersed in turmoil since the bombings – and also may have helped the city’s team win over the Royals when Daniel Nava scored a three-run home run.

Diamond’s appearance was last-minute, but the singer tells PEOPLE, “I was humbled and honored to be in Boston and be able to personally thank and express my gratitude to the first responders and law enforcement officers.”

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