By KEVIN CLAPP Staff Writer, (609)272-7255
Published: Monday, September 4, 2006
You know what they say about good things coming to those who wait. Well, almost two months after the postponement of one of his Borgata shows, Paul Simon returned.
The wait was worth it.
In a full Event Center, Simon´s concert Saturday night was at once contemplative and exuberant, powered by one of the most reliable voices in rock.
He doesn´t hit the high notes like he used to, but the spirit of that voice remains a comforting tool, full of passion, pain and endurance.
The Simon songbook is so extensive you could get a separate show of hits that went unplayed. As it was, the 23 songs in 104 minutes was a tour through his lengthy repertoire.
Many in the crowd were likely fans from his days as part of the duo Tom and Jerry, the pair we´d wind up knowing as Simon and Garfunkel.
But it was a predictable audience, excited for the hits, largely ambivalent during the obscure and always ready with polite applause.
Simon seemed to sense it. After an opening ovation, fans didn´t manage to stand again until a blistering ´Me and Julio Down by the School Yard´ shook them from their seats, a half-dozen songs into his set.
´Oh, you stood up,´ he said. ´Signs of life.´
On stage, life flourished as Simon offered powerful takes on newer songs while not always content to let the oldies stand as they were recorded. The reinvention yielded gems.
´The Boy in the Bubble,´ matched with a slower tempo and phrasing became a much moodier adventure. And ´Mrs. Robinson´ electric was electrifying, a blend of sound and voice that invigorated the acoustic original.
And a memo to those down front who fled after the first of three encores: You never leave before the houselights go up. Especially when you´re dealing with a legend.
(Though the folks who filed into your discarded seats say thanks.)
You missed what may have been the 14 most powerful minutes of the show.
In half of that time, Simon stood alone strumming his guitar as he worked through first ´Wartime Prayers´ from new album ´Surprise´ and then ´Bridge Over Troubled Water.´
Midway through this classic, the band joined him. After a short break they returned for a rollicking ´Late in the Evening´ to close the show.
What remained of the crowd ended the night as they began, on their feet. It may have taken two months, but they got what they were looking for.