EARLIER this year, ´Time´ magazine claimed that singer-songwriter Paul Frederic Simon is one of the ´100 people who shape our world´.
On the last two occasions this pint-sized colossus of modern music played Ireland, he packed Kilkenny´s Nowlan Park and the RDS Showjumping arena alongside his former partner in song, Art Garfunkel. For the likes of an artist of his stature, the Point Theatre is about as intimate as it gets.
Paul saunters onstage just after 8pm with his band in tow. An opening double whammy from the 1986 album ´Graceland´ kickstarts the show. ´Gumboots´ and the irresistible hit ´The Boy in the Bubble´ immediately mark out this evening as more than a little bit special.
´These are the days of mystery and wonder, this is a long distance call,´ Paul croons, echoing a time when the current era of mass communications was virtually unimaginable.
New material from the latest Brian Eno-produced album ´Surprise´ was used sparingly, yet the beautiful ´How Can You Live in the Northeast?´ was one of the night´s many highlights.
Clad neatly but simply in a green shirt and red baseball cap, Simon looked relaxed and as if he was thoroughly enjoying being onstage.
´This is a clichÃ©, but it´s an incredible pleasure to come and play in Ireland,´ he beamed.
Indeed, it was also an incredible pleasure to be in the audience and witness two hours and 20 minutes of timeless classics such as ´50 Ways to Leave Your Lover´, ´Slip Slidin´ Away´, ´Cecilia´ and ´Graceland´.
The encores were a mini-concert all by themselves, including ´You Can Call Me Al´, ´Mrs Robinson´, ´The Boxer´, ´Still Crazy After All These Years´ and ´Homeward Bound´.
The thrilled crowd kept hollering for more and Paul dutifully returned to the stage on three occasions to reward their enthusiasm.
At the age of 65, Paul Simon is a class act. He is still crazy, and utterly brilliant, after all these years.