Singer Paul Simon appeared as the special guest Sunday at an impromptu Amagansett charity concert for local chef Sean Rafferty, who was diagnosed with a bladder tumor two weeks ago.
Simon joined two local bands, Little Head Thinks and The Nancy Atlas Project, at the Stephen Talkhouse, wearing a Yale baseball cap, black T-shirt and jeans. He said he was there to help out a ´friend of the family,´ while confiding to staffers he wanted to give back to the East End community, which has treated him so well.
For a suggested donation of $25, hundreds of guests packed the bar in support of Rafferty and wound up hearing an acoustic quartet of Simon classics: ´Homeward Bound´, ´America,´ ´Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard´ and ´The Boxer.´
The enthusiastic crowd caught Simon off guard when they began singing in unison the ´lie-la-lie´ chorus of ´The Boxer,´ his last song of the evening.
The singer grinned and then pointed to the bartenders and declared, ´Literally, everyone can have a beer on me.´
Before wrapping up his act, Simon looked at the audience and quipped, ´I have to figure out how to pay for the beers now.´
He walked off stage and immediately offered up his credit card.
Simon showed up at the request of Sean´s older brother, Ron Rafferty, who was the former caretaker of Simon´s Montauk estate and is now leading the charge to help his sibling, who´s already facing bills of $20,000 and has no medical coverage.
When the concert finished, Sean, 37, a chef at Nichol´s, summed up the evening: ´It was really wonderful - I have a lot more friends than I realized.´
As Simon was leaving the building, Sean´s wife, Kathryn, rushed out to thank him for playing at the event, which raised about $10,000 through donations and the evening´s bar profits, which the Talkhouse gave to the cause.
The good-hearted Simon replied, ´Your husband´s going to be fine . . . When he´s fine, I´ll come sing again.´
Donations for Sean can be made by calling him at (631) 267-7619