Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Steve Gadd - Drums
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Robin diMaggio - Drums, percussion
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Harper Simon - Guitar
Adrian Simon - Keyboards
The band included:
Paul Simon - guitars, vocals
Vincent Nguini - guitars, percussion
Steve Gadd - drums
Mark Stewart - guitar, saxophone
Bakithi Kumalo - bass
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Tony Cedras - accordeon, piano, trumpet
Buckwheat Zydeco - accordeon on That was your mother
Allen Toussaint - piano on Bridge and Graceland
Irma Thomas - vocals on Bridge
Can it be the same paul simon concert that i saw in new orleans at jazz fest? Surely not. What i saw was a lacklustre performance by a performer who did not seem to realise he was standing in front of thousands of excited fans hoping for a hint that he was pleased to be there. The person I saw did not put on a concert or entertain the audience, he simply walked on stage, perfunctorily performed a few songs, many of which did not do justice to the original, and left the stage. His seeming disinterest was put into even sharper focus in light of the amazing, stirring performance of bruce springsteen and his band of merry men and woman the week before. Now that was entertainment and a real boost for good ol´ Nawlins.
Paul Simon´s set at the Acura Stage was a final healing balm for a population desperately in need of it. Cultural collector Simon´s search
for fresh sounds and inspirations has taken him from Lafayette to South Africa and many points in between. His gift is his ability to weave
strands of indigenous music into his own pop tapestry in a way that enlivens his songs while honoring the other traditions. His finely
honed band easily charted his musical travelogue on Sunday, even as Simon, in fine voice, stamped his signature acoustics on ´Slip Sliding
Away,´ ´Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,´ ´Still Crazy After All These Years,´ ´Loves Me Like a Rock´ and an absolutely delightful
´Cecilia.´ In the 20th anniversary year of his landmark ´Graceland´ album, he revived ´Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.´
Simon, an early supporter of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, also went out of his way to shine the spotlight on Louisiana stars. For his
zydeco treatise ´That Was Your Mother,´ he enlisted Stanley ´Buckwheat Zydeco´ Dural to provide accordion accompaniment. Allen Toussaint took a seat at a grand piano and led Simon´s band on ´There´s A Party Going On,´ an unrecorded Toussaint composition that he rehearsed with Simon´s band in Connecticut recently. During a joyous swing through the ´Graceland´ title track, Toussaint underscored such lyrics as ´there is a girl from New York City who calls herself a human trampoline´ with bouts of boogie-woogie piano.
And Irma Thomas turned up yet again for a magic Jazzfest moment. In 2005, she brought her audience to tears with a devastating take on Sister Rosetta Tharpe´s ´Beams of Heaven.´ This year, she sang lead on ´Bridge Over Troubled Water,´ building slowly and methodically to an inspiring finale with Simon providing harmony. The set ended with Simon, Thomas, Dural and Toussaint gathered at center stage, arm in arm, huddled together, in an affirmation of Louisiana´s musical bounty by a performer who is more than happy to celebrate it.
I left work on Saturday night at midnight and dorve 14 hours to see him, and then I drove 14 hours directly after the concert to make it back to work on Monday. It was totally worth the exhaustion though. He sounded so good,and I was really glad that he played some of his new stuff. If I had all of the money in the world I would become a professonal Paul Simon groupy. I was especially glad that he played Graceland because that song sounds the best live. The first song wasn´t Crazy Love Vol. 2 though it was Gumboots.