I attended Paul Simon´s concert last night, April 15, 2011, at the WaMu Theatre in Seattle, WA. What a terrific concert, one of the best in my long (I am 59 years old) life.
I wish I had a Kodachrome memory and could tell you the set list. I can say that he mixed in a number of standards (like Kodachrome, That Was Your Mother, Sounds of Silence (as an encore, one of three), 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, and many more, with songs from his new album.
His new song ´The Afterlife´ is amazing, as good as anything he has ever written.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 8:00 and he walked onstage at about 8:15. By my count, there were 8 members of his band, including a very hippie-looking guitarist who played cello on one tune and alto sax on several. Very tight band, top-rate musicians.
I don´t like to rave, but I cannot think of anything about what happened on stage to whine about. A couple of idiots sitting next to us were loud and drunk and spent most of the first hour talking very loudly during the songs. A very large and menacing-looking savior in front of us finally told them to shut up and, subdued, they lapsed into a drunken stupor.
But Simon and his band were great. They played about 90 minutes and then did three encores. The venus is not my favorite (cramped seating, less then ideal acoustics) but I will treasure the memory of this amazing performance for a long time.
Had I been more on the ball I would have gotten tickets to his gig this Sunday, the 17th. But I will keep my eyes peeled in the future for an opportunity to see him again.
Paul Simon at WaMu - one for the ages
Paul Simon, in the first salvo of his North American tour, delivered a show for the ages Friday, April 15, at Seattle´s WaMu Theater, mixing Old favorites such as ´The Sound of Silence´ with songs from his brilliant new album, ´So Beautiful or So What.´
By Paul de Barros
Seattle Times arts critic
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PAUL DE BARROS
The set list from Paul Simon´s concert at WaMu, April 15, 2011.
Concert Review |
Paul Simon´s immaculate, inspiring, near-perfectly articulated two-hour concert at WaMu Theater on Friday, the opening salvo of his North American tour, was one for the ages.
At 69, Simon is still writing brilliant stuff - per his new album, ´So Beautiful or So What´ - even as he surveys a body of work that is the envy of any singer-songwriter.
Dressed in denim, green T and black overshirt with sleeves cut at the elbow, the diminutive, round-faced, silver-haired troubadour with the high, slightly melancholy voice coasted insouciantly over a delicious tangle of world rhythms created by a carefully-balanced eight-piece band.
The sold-out crowd greeted him with a standing ovation before he sang a note.
Simon projected the mood of an adult comfortable in his own shoes, enjoying the moment, looking back at life with sentiments both savory and skeptical and eagerly anticipating the future.
´Life is what you make of it,´ he sang with a shrug, in the title song of the new album. Its driving rhythm lifted the room to the first peak of many in an evening that began with a slightly cottony reserve but inexorably built to a climax with a slow burn.
Simon peppered the night with new work and old, dipping into ´The Sound of Silence´ (great Spanish guitar!) and ´Kodachrome,´ as well as Graceland favorite ´Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes,´ which got the boomer fans (some, with their kids) up on their feet and dancing.
But the new songs, such as the Blake-like vision ´Love is Eternal Sacred Light´ and the Hoagy Carmichael-inflected ´Love and Hard Times,´ with their Big Subjects (cosmology, God) were more than welcome. Simon handled them with a remarkably light touch.
When someone shouted, ´We love you!´ Simon responded, ´I used to love me, too,´ suggesting, perhaps, that humility is the key.
The concert celebrated the 20th anniversary of Seattle radio station KMTT 103.7 The Mountain, which the singer cordially congratulated, dedicating the touching ´Father and Daughter´ to Mountain program director Dave Benson.
The years have frayed Simon´s voice a tad. He carefully avoided some high notes and occasionally strayed off pitch, though his casual abandon was worth the trade-off.
Simon was pulled back for two encores, ending a sumptuous night with ´Late In The Evening,´ a sweetly unabashed foray in nostalgia - for youth and young love.