Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Steve Gadd - Drums
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Jay Ashby - Trombone, Percussion
Jamey Haddad - Percussion
Alain Mallet - Keyboard, Accordion
Steve Shehan - Percussion
Evan Ziporyn - Clarinet, Saxophone
Harper Simon - Guitar
I went to the concert Monday night in Oakland and thought I´d share some of my thoughts about it with you.
First of all, as my Mom and I were entering the theatre - she´s 62 and I´m 32 - we noticed that the crowd reflected our range of ages. There was definitely quite an age range there and I was reminded of just how long Paul has been in the business of creating wonderful music for the generations to enjoy!
The concert itself was one of the best, of any type, I´ve ever seen (and I´ve seen hundreds!) It was so energetic and wonderfully exhausting. There were of course the many talented musicians with him (we´re talking four sets of drums!), and you can´t help but appreciate them. But I couldn´t take my eyes off Paul. He so obviously enjoys every song he sings. His hands and arms are constantly in motion, acting out the songs and lending to the performing and meaning of the songs. I´ve seen many performers who were great, but it seems that some get so used to their songs after performing them for so many years, that they´re doing them by rote. Not Paul. He is there feeling and conducting every single song. He LIKES his songs - and with good reason!
The concert was heavy on Graceland and You´re the One, and that was fine by us, as Graceland will probably always be my favorite and You´re the One is wonderful. Some of the new YTO songs were made even more special to me after watching him perform them as described above, especially ´Darling
Lorraine´. When he got to the ´stack of pancakes´, he gestured a height over his head - so now to us, when we hear that song we say ´a stack higher than Paul Simon!´
The sound was absolutely wonderful. I believe some in the crowd thought it was too loud, but it worked for us (and most of the rest of the crowd). The new songs, and the way he´s updated the old songs, cry out to be broadcast in a large way. It WAS loud. It was assaulting. It was exhilarating and wonderful. But, that´s not to say it was a constant barrage. There were moments of softer songs - ´Diamonds on the Soles...´ with his musicians gathered around him for the a cappella beginning. ´The Boxer´, with the crowd joining in, was beautiful.
The crowd obviously had a great time, evidenced by the fact that no one wanted to leave until Paul had done four encores, and even then we were reluctant. The house lights finally told everyone to go home. Once, at a Crosby, Stills and Nash concert, the crowd was so persistent that Nash had to ask the crowd ´Don´t you people have HOMES?´ I was reminded of that Monday night, as after the third encore, Paul was half way off the stage, stopped, looked at the crowd and said a sincere ´You are very kind.´ I say four encores, but really I consider that the band did four encores, Paul did only three, because while the musicians left the first time, he stayed on the stage to sing ´American Tune´ by himself with guitar. Another wonderful moment.
I could probably go on and on about this experience, but I will spare you and end here. Thanks for bringing us a venue to share our Paul appreciation!