First of all, I would like to state how f**king pissed I am at TicketBASTARD. The Paramount is a _beautiful_ place located below Madison Square Garden. The only bad thing is the seating. There are two main center sections with a smaller section on either side. If you are on the side, you will have a major obstruction of your view of the stage. I had seats 1 through 4 of row N (another words ALL the way stage left). On the tickets, it says ´Extremem Side.´ The tickets *LEGALLY* should have said ´obstructed view.´ In NY, it has to state that in print on the ticket. My friends and I could not see two thirds of the stage. We complained bitterly to the Event Manager and the Security Supervisor. They said to complain to TicketBASTARD and The Paramount public relations. I spoke to The Paramount today (Friday) and they still claim that I could definitely see both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkl. Thanks a lot. I think there are 10 other musicians as well. They claim that S&G were the ´prime attraction´ (or something like that). My friends and I might take them to small claims court since the tickets were _three hundred dollars_ (quite a bit of money). If you have seen the
concert and feel as though you were very disappointed with the view from your seat, please email me and I´ll supply you with the names and phone numbers of who you can contact at The Paramount.
Sorry about the bitching but this is $300 to be screwed out of. Now the review. I probably have the songs out of order and possibly include and definitely exclude some songs as well..... Before the show my friends and I went down to the famous Katz´s Deli on Houston St. just east of Broadway. That was just to get us in a good mood since they have THE BEST corned beef and pastrami sandwiches in the world. I highly recommend going to this deli if you are visiting NYC. After booking out of Katz´s at 7:45 for the 8 pm show, we zipped north to midtown, got to our seats at 8:04 and a minute a later the show started.
Dressed formally, Simon and Garfunkl started with ´The Boxer.´ My first reaction was how ****GREAT**** the sound was. It was by far the best sounding show I have EVER heard. It was not loud at all and the balance was perfect in every way almost as though it was pre-recorded and you were sitting in your living room listening to your stereo. S&G sounded excellently. They were in excellent form being the 10th of 21 shows although Garfunkl seemed to struggle a hair as well as not being able to hit some high notes as cleanly as I can imagine he did back in the ´60s (I´m only 21 so I don´t remember the 60´s that well 8-) ). Half way through the song, the rest of the band came in as usual.
The back of the stage behind the see-through black curtain closed behind S&G was softly lit. It was beautifully choreographed with S&G out in the spotlight and the accompaniment far in the distance but yet close by just like on record. I found this to be the ´nicest´ aspect of the concert. It was a Paul Simon concert that featured him (and Garfunkl for part of the time). There was limited soloing throughout the entire show by the other musicians who included former ´featured soloist´ Mike Brecker on Sax and EWI and as usual, the finest drummer ever, Steve Gadd (I would have paid $75 just to hear Gadd play by himself).
After playing ´America,´ Paul Simon talked quite a bit about their history. ´As you probably know, we grew up in the Forest Hills section of Queens.´ A few screams. ´Oh, your from Queens? What part? Flushing? Kew Gardens?´ More screams. ´Uh oh. Now I gotta go through every section of Queens. Anyway, Well we started off playing when we were 13 years old....´
Simon made everyone feel as though they were at party as opposed to a concert telling jokes and playing with the audience. For the next 20 minutes or so, they went through how they progressed from the first paying gig as Tom and Jerry (and how they ripped off the promotor of their very first gig just by the fact that they
were paid) and their hit ´Schoolgirl´ and all their inbetween attempts to sound like their current songwriters. I am sure I´ll forget half the songs they played but during this first set they played ´Scarborough Fair,´ ´Homeward Bound,´ ´Old Friends,´ ´Mrs. Robinson,´ ´Cecilia,´ and ´The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin´ Groovy)´ which he commented on how he doesn´t exactly feel appropriate singing the song these days.
Without an intermission or even a pause between songs, the show smoothly went into a roughly chronologically ordered Paul Simon section of the concert. Here they had a few guests including Phoebe Snow singing ´Gone At Last.´ This song greatly missed Richard Tee´s groove. Richard Tee has this ´rolling,´ Gospel feel high-lighted by accents that no pianist can even come close to immitating. I am sure if Richard Tee was alive and playing this would have been one of my favorite songs of the night. The pianist (I couldn´t make out his name) could not immitate this feel and the music just felt flat. Pheobe Snow was magnificent as well as the back-up singers (the Cobb Brothers???). The Cobb Brothers stayed on and sung ´Loves me Like a Rock´ and a few other songs. Simon then played on with ´Me and Julio....,´ ´Something So Right,´ and ´50 Ways...´
After a 15 minute intermission, the concert continued with more Paul Simon solo material primarily from the Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints albums. Ladysmith Black Mambazo came out and did ´Homeless´ and ´Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.´ In between songs, Paul told a story about how during rehearsal for this set of 21 concerts, a little girl didn´t believe that those 12 (?) guys singing were they people who sang ´The ABC´s´ (or whatever you call it) on Sesame Street and they had to sing it for her. Well they did it in concert. Between their fabulous singing, even on ´The ABC´s, and visually dazzling dancing, the Ladysmith troupe was phenomenal live. I remember seeing them on Saturday Night Live a few years ago and they were fantastic.
With the great sound at The Paramount, this was one of the highlights of the show. For the remainder of the show they did ´She Moves On,´ ´Born At The Right Time,´ ´Train in the Distance,´ ´I Know What I Know,´ ´The Coast,´ ´Proof,´ and ´Further to Fly.´ The also played a very great version of ´The Cool, Cool River.´ The soft raining, swirling music seemed to provide a beautiful background so the wonderful lyrics can really standout. Then towards the end of the song, that swirling music erupted into a roar with Steve Gadd providing the spectacular thunder with his bass drum and floor toms. They also played ´You Can Call Me Al´ in which Paul said, ´Come on have a little fun. Stand up. It´s Saturday night.´ The audience more than agreed with probably a couple hundred people rushing towards the stage dancing away.
After their last song (I can´t remember exactly which of the above), all of the probably 35 musicians came out for a bow with the exception of one. Everyone parted and Garfunkl came out and sang ´Bridge over Troubled Water.´ Garfunkl reached for every bit of emotion that he could pull out while the mostly NY audience was standing, cheering and whistling as loudly as they had been all night from almost the beginning of the song. Being a ´Paul Simon Concert,´ it was strangely the biggest of the highlights of the show. Looking back it seemed as though Garfunkl was trying to get some of credit back that he lost after S&G broke up (Although, Paul did write the song). Nevertheless, ´Bridge over Troubled Water´ nearly brought the house down. Next Paul came out and together S&G ended with ´The Sound of Silence.´
Again I wish I had more time to write this so I could choose the right words and actually re-read it once. Just FYI, the musicians that I can definitely remember besides S&G....
Steve Gadd - drums
Mike Brecker - tenor sax, EWI (electronic wind instrument)
Vincent Nguini - guitar
Armand Sabal-Lecoo - bass
Tony Cedras - keyboards
Ray Phiri - guitar
John Selolwane - guitar (I think)
Mingo Araujo - percussion (there was one other percussionist from
the Central Park concert....BTW, I think this is
the percussionist who jumps around a lot.)
Chris Botti - trumpet
Barney Rachabane - alto sax
back up singers included Julia Water, Phoebe Snow, and one other
guy (I don´t think he was at the Central Park show)
I hope you enjoyed my review. It is much longer than I expected and took a lot of my time to write. I wish I could have been able to make it into a better written review but I don´t have the time and more importantly, I´m an engineering student. 8-)