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October 21, 2006 - USA / New York
New York - Radio City Music Hall
The Boy In The Bubble
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Slip Slidin´ Away
You´re The One
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Train In The Distance
How Can You Live In The Northeast?
Loves Me Like a Rock
That Was Your Mother
Father & Daughter
The Only Living Boy In New York
Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al
Still Crazy After All These Years
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Late In The Evening
The band (not all members are present at all shows)
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
Fans who attended this show
Concert was awesome. Highlight was Wartime Prayers performed on acoustic guitar as a solo without any backround musicians. Guitar work was incredible and he nailed the vocals. The one song was worth the price of admission.
This was my seventh time to see Paul Simon (my first time was during 1992 Born At The Right Time Tour, and twice during 2003/2004´s Simon & Garfunkel reunion). Surprisingly, I can´t say I was the most satisfied with this show, but it was my first time to see him in New York and it was one hell of an experience.
Opening with ´Gumboots´ was such a daring move I thought, but it was genius because it basically sent a message that resonated throughout the entire set list: ´This is my show and I´m going to play what I damn well please and how I damn want.´ And despite a couple of hiccups on the way, it was, by no surprise, pretty awesome.
Mixing SURPRISE songs with his 42-year-old catalogue, Paul showed off the new while keeping the old fresh and ... well, direct. New arrangements made to fit the Brian Eno-style of the latest record gave the hits a hip approach to walk hand in hand with an audience that ranged from pre-teens to college kids to flower children.
The biggest surprise was his new approach to ´The Boy In the Bubble,´ the second song of the evening. With it´s verses already laden with blues riffs, drummer Steve Gadd added a funkier twist to the back beat, making the song sound far from the other tunes it sits next to on the GRACELAND album. The chorus still rang familiar, but edgier verses provided a feel that removed at least 40 years off of the 65-year-old Simon.
Other hits followed, including ´50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,´ ´Slip Slidin´ Away,´ ´Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard´ and ´Loves Me Like A Rock,´ without any overbearing element of surprise, but the crowd was presented with rare and updated treats like ´Train In The Distance´ (admittedly, missing the fingers of the late keyboardist Richard Tee) and ´Duncan.´
Simon & Garfunkel favorites were definitely present. ´Cecilia´ brought the crowd to its feet while an understated ´Mrs. Robinson,´ usually a crowd favorite, was surprisingly underwhelming. But beautiful renditions of ´The Only Living Boy in New York´ and yet another take on ´Bridge Over Troubled Water´ (as a die-hard Paul Simon fan, I´m counting at least six different ´tour´ arrangements of this since the album´s release in 1970) gave the older fans something to smile about on the way home.
For the first of three encore sets (not songs ... SETS), Paul gave us a sweet acoustic rendition of ´Wartime Prayers,´ a song I´m not overly crazy about on the SURPRISE record (mainly because it abuses Herbie Hancock´s abilities and it kind of interrupts the flow of the album ... it would´ve been better at the end of the disc), however his unplugged version was reminiscent of ´Can I Forgive Him,´ my favorite track on THE CAPEMAN soundtrack. He then led into the new version of ´Bridge´ which is pretty much a concoction of the original album version, the LIVE RHYMIN´ version, and the CONCERT IN THE PARK version.
After a rocking ´Late In The Evening,´ Paul surprised the crowd by inviting the opener, bluegrass slide guitarist Jerry Douglas, to join the band on a sweet performance of ´The Boxer,´ after which the singer-songwriter left the stage while ... ´the fighter still remain(ed).´
I for one am in love with SURPRISE. I think it´s a dramatic move for Paul´s music and I wouldn´t have minded hearing more from that record at Saturday´ night´s show. I love ´Everything About It is a Love Song´ and ´Sure Don´t Feel Like Love.´ Personally, I would have preferred those tunes over a lackluster ´Mrs. Robinson´ and another tired crack at ´Still Crazy After All These Years´ (which really doesn´t speak to me much unless Michael Brecker is playing sax).
However, the new approaches to ´Boy in the Bubble,´ ´Train In The Distance´ and ´Bridge´ were all worth revisiting anything from Paul´s past, even though his present work, with every listen since its May release, continues to surprise me.
Backstage, Paul said that the New York crowd ´gets it´ (in contrast to the L.A. crowd which ´didn´t get it, ´I can´t help it if they don´t get it.´ Berkeley and Minneapolis also ´get it´ by the way.) Paul doesn´t measure the success of the crowd by the noise or whether they stand.
In the middle of the show a girl lept on stage and began dancing next to Paul. Paul motioned security away when he realized she just wanted to dance and was not going to touch him. He let her dance and the crowd roared. If you are going to jump onstage, just don´t touch him or get in the way of him playing.
He said he was pleased with his voice tonight. It was in register. (Paul does not think he has a great singing voice, he thinks its only ok.)
As you would expect there was a large crowd backstage including some family members and many of his friends. This is his hometown after all and he said while onstage that this wasn´t ´just another show.´ Clearly he is electrified by New York.
This was a magical concert from start to finish. Paul Simon was most certainly on top of his game. He is a New York Musician playing on New York´s grandest stage. Paul Simon was showered with ´We Love you Paul´, ´Welcome Home´, and ´Ryhmin Simon´ screams through out his performance. With his amazing voice, trusty guitar, and humble approach he did what he has always managed to do, Capture the heart and soul of his audience. His fans were treated to an evening of Classic Simon. ´Late in the Evening´, ´Still Crazy´, ´ The Boxer´, ´You Can call me Al´. New songs at Concerts, no matter how strong their quality, can usually turn into a dash for the bathroom or concessions stands. No so with Paul Simon, his new material was eagerly awaited. And he did not disappoint. Paul masterfully mixed new an old . He pulled songs from his legendary catalogue and the crowd enthusiastically received each and every one.
In a strange way the songs that Paul Simon played did not seem to matter nearly as much as the fact that Paul Simon was back home and on stage in New York City again, happy and healthy. When most fans go to see a concert they want to hear certain songs for themselves. At this concert the New York Fan´s were happy to hear the songs that Paul Simon wanted to play for them!! After three Encores which could have easily been 33 encores Paul Simon finally said thank you and farewell. The fans would have stayed all night if they could. But in the end it was time to go home and as his thankful fans filed out into the city streets. The same streets that propelled Mr. Simon to such remarkable career decades ago. In the air the was a feeling of gratitude. And maybe after all the years of sold out shows, Concerts in the Park, and awe inspiring performances that is all Paul Simon could have ever asked for!!
This is was the fifth time seeing Mr. Simon (solo or with Garfunkel). I really enjoyed the set list for the second leg (not that Mohegan was bad, but Train was the highlight for me). I almost forgot he was going to do it, and didn´t recognize it when he started it. We were very close to the stage and we saw all the musicians walking around the stage before Jerry Douglas came on. I saw Andy escorting someone to the VIP pit. I was with my friend who had never seen Paul Simon but is a real Graceland (album) junkie. Eddie Simon was in the crowd and he was mingling. He came to talk to someone in the row behind us and my friend who didn´t know that Eddie looks a lot like Paul was bugging out. He thought it was Paul Simon, I told him to relax, and said ´Hello Eddie,´ he didn´t hear me because he had cotton in his ears already. Jerry Douglas was very good as usual. The only complain I have was that Paul came on a lot sooner then he usually did. I missed the first half of Gumboots and ran past the lady who wanted to see my ticket. I was knocking people over to get to my seat. The show was amazing, and Wartime Prayers was a highlight. He sang it solo. During the first line his voice cracked (the first time all night, and to quote Paul McCartney ´It proves we´re not on tape.´) I was really expecting some of his friends or even Garfunkel to make a cameo, but I didn´t see anyone. Before Jerry Douglas, they played a solid 45 minutes of Edie´s songs, which a lot I had never heard before. All in all, it was and I repeat a life changing event, one that I will remember for a long time.
The marquee on the front of the building that houses Radio City Music Hall said: Paul Simon Sold Out. This is a very famous, huge theater. It claims to be the largest theater in the world (which I doubt) at 5800 seats, but at any rate, it is the largest theater in NYC for certain. It is a masterpiece of art deco design and has been renovated lately so it is an impressive venue, to say the least.
I had traveled from the Virgin Islands to see the Holmdel New Jersey show earlier in the tour, but when I learned that Paul was going to play in NYC I decided to spend the money to see him again. Wow, was it ever worth it!
As noted in the previous review, Paul seemed energized by the crowd. At one point, he paused and said in a very conversational tone, ´You know, I tried to tell myself this was just another show´¦ but´¦ it´s not.´ The band seemed tighter and more into the music than in Holmdel (of course that was an outdoor venue on a night of almost record heat). Adding Train in the Distance and Late in the Evening definitely improved the show. The order of the songs had improved too, as I felt the encores were much better by using the songs in the order he did them.
The acoustic version of Wartime Prays was really stunning. Six thousand people were on their feet, cheering and yelling for another encore when Paul came back out alone. He picked up his guitar and paused in the spotlight for a moment. Everyone went quiet and sat down. He played a marvelous acoustic rendition of the song. A pin drop could have been heard. The audience seemed absolutely still and almost awed by the performance. As he finished, a roar went up and everyone jumped back up to their feet.
I was with two people, someone who has been to many PS concerts (and S&G concerts) with me and someone who had never seen PS live. My friend who has seen almost as many shows as me felt that this was the best PS concert he had ever seen. The woman who had never seen him was amazed. She had really just been a Graceland fan (although she remembers S&G and was a so-so fan of them), but she was stunned. Previously I have felt that the Still Crazy tour when he played Lincoln Center or the Born at the Right Time tour were the best. However, this one is right up there, to a large part the energy and feeling of the room and how it interacted and seemed to move PS, too.