Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Jamey Haddad - Percussion
Rob Schwimmer - Keyboards, Theremin
Warren Bernhardt - Piano
Charley Drayton - Drums
Sunday 14th June 2009:
Show started 8.15pm ´“ lasted about 2 hours 15 minutes
Hazy Shade of Winter
I Am A Rock
Be Bop A Lula
Mrs Robinson (including Not Fade Away in the middle)
Slip Slidin Away
El Condor Pasa
Art Garfunkel solo-
Heart in New York
For Emily Whenever I May Find Her
Paul Simon solo-
Me & Julio
Boy In The Bubble
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Only Living Boy in New York
My Little Town
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Sound of Silence
Leaves that are Green
59th Street Bridge Song
These were Simon & Garfunkel´s first concerts in NZ since Feb 1983 (and I was at the Wellington concert that year) and Paul Simon has never brought his solo shows to our shores (sadly).
Counting 1 Art Garfunkel solo show in NZ June 2002 these concerts were my Simon and/or Garfunkel concerts number 22 & 23. I did go to the 3 Madison Square Garden Old Friends concerts in December 2003. The rest consist of solo Paul Simon concerts in Sydney (2 in Oct 1991), California (3 in June 1999), London & Paris (4 in Oct 2000), UK & Brussels (4 in July 2002), UK & Paris (3 in July 2008).
I am a Paul Simon solo fan more than Simon & Garfunkel (these were his songwriting early years after all), so for me Simon & Garfunkel concerts for me will always be second best ´“ ticket prices twice the price and his best songs won´t make the setlist.
My summary -
The first concert was pretty much as discussed here. The loss of sound from Paul´s mike during BOTW was a glitch that could have destroyed the song but the crowd taking over saved the day and Paul & Arties relief and appreciation was very evident.
Differences from December New York 2003 shows ´“ Mark Stewarts guitar solos on America and My Little Town seemed a bit less dramatic. Also, a pity that Baby Driver and Keep The Customer Satisfied missed the setlist ´“ they were great rocking performances from 2003.
But the plusses of a small Paul Simon solo set, plus the version of Mrs Robinson with Buddy Holly´s Not Fade Away more than made up for these.
The biggest difference from December 2003 was the interaction between Paul & Artie. The striking memory from 2003 was feeling that Paul looked like he didn´t want to be there (although he did lighten up once the Everly Brother came out). This time the interaction between them both seems natural and genuine. Also, especially on the second night Paul had much more to say than usual which was great and very funny.
I feel there was much more harmonizing between them both compared to 2003 which was great. Artie´s voice is a shadow of what it used to be. I knew that from 2002 and 2003 concerts. On the second night Arties vocals were much improved from the first night.
I have been to many great concerts in NZ. I would have rated Bruce Springsteen and Sarah McLachlan as the best concerts I have been to in my own country. The Sunday 14th June Simon & Garfunkel show certainly rates right up there for me now. Watching the reaction of Paul Artie and all the band at the end of the show you could tell they shared the feeling that they had just finished a great performance.
The band is great, mostly Paul´s solo band who I have seen many times. Andy Snitzer and Vincent Nguini´s talents on this setlist seem very under employed though. I wish Paul would sneak in Still Crazy for that great sax solo.
All in all great shows both night. Now I´m off to Sydney for one last listen on 20th & 21st June.
Second night we got a new variation on the Tom & Jerry and Alice in Wonderland stories from Paul.
The first night was the usual story with Artie referring to Paul´s White Rabbit being the leading role. Paul responded saying he had just finished playing a part in the play Death of A Salesman so was grateful for a part that wasn´t so heavy.
Second night Artie referred to his Cheshire Cat role as the 2nd lead role and Paul´s White Rabbit as the 3rd lead role, to which Paul responded ´well everyone knows that the White Rabbit is the leading role. In fact there is a new Simon & Garfunkel biography coming out which is titled The White Rabbit and Other Friends. Paul then went on to say that they started out as Tom & Jerry before changing to this other name that seemed to catch on. He said (joking) that personally he would have preferred to stay as Tom and Jerry.
The funniest part was when Paul went on to recount a story from the Tom & Jerry days. He talked about them being in a talent contest (school I think). He said here we were singing our own song we had written, but mentioned this other guy (I can´t remember the name) who had a good voice and sang Danny Boy. He was the teachers favourite and was always going to win. When it came time to perform the teacher announced I know everyone wants to hear NAME singing Danny Boy but first we are going to have to hear these 2 perform their song´. I haven´t got the exact wording of the story but it was very funny.
Just before commencing Only Living Boy In New York someone in the audience to the right of the stage called out for The Boxer. Paul responded ´we don´t do that song anymore, there doesn´t seem to be any interest for that one these days. But here´s another one from the same album´. Later when it was time for The Boxer Paul started his guitar intro toward where the caller was sitting ( as if to say here this ones just for you).
Paul also had a little pause during Leaves that are Green. After singing the lines ´I was 21 when I wrote this song, I´m 22 now but I won´t be for long, time hurries on´ there was muted audience laughter at the extreme understatement of the lyric (as was being beamed out on the overhead video screen unforgivingly highlighting every line of his face). Picking up on this Paul said ´Um, let me think about that for a moment´ before carrying on with the song. As the song concluded you could have heard a pin drop as he had the audience under the spell of the song and his performance of it. Such an amazing performance.