The Paul Simon concert at Mohegan Sun Arena was opened by an instruemental bluegrass group led by Jerry Douglas. The group began at 7:30PM and played six upbeat bluegrass instrumental numbers, lasting till about 8:00PM.
Once the stage was cleared and set, the show began at about 8:30. There was no type of introduction--the lights were lowered, the band entered the stage, then Paul Simon walked onto the stage, receiving cheers and applause. He was dressed in a green button-down shirt with a faded red hat, loose black pants and white sneakers. He seemed to be in high spirits, smiling continuously throughout the show.
His first song, ´Gumboots,´ is one with which I am not familiar, but was very enjoyable. ´The Boy in the Bubble´ received much praise from the audience, the same audience that apparently has not purchased Paul´s new album yet as nobody seemed to recognize his next song, ´Outrageous´ (or any other songs off the new album for that matter).
Following ´Outrageous,´ Paul said his first few words of the night, ´Thank you, it´s great to be here,´ before continuing on to ´Slip Sliding Away.´ The beginning of this song featured Paul on solo guitar, later joined by the rest of the band including his backup singers. The song was played a lot slower than usual, and a live muted trumpet added a wonderful addition to the instrumental portions of the song.
The next songs were ´You´re the One,´ then ´Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard.´ This song was (obviously) a big hit, and was very upbeat. Paul did his own whistling in the middle of the song.
´How Can You Live in the Northeast´ was next, and again, very few people in the audience seemed to know it. As he did on Saturday Night Live, he sang the first chorus before and after the first verse, rather than only after the first verse like on the album.
The next song was ´Mrs. Robinson,´ in the middle of which Paul switched to an electric guitar and played a minute-ling electric guitar solo.
´Loves Me Like a Rock´ was next, followed by ´That Was Your Mother.´ During this song, Paul sang with no guitar in hand. Though this is unusual, I am not surprised, since I have noticed that Paul is playing his guitar less and less and using it more and more as a place to keep his hands while he is singing.
At the end of this song, a group of young women sitting near me stood up and randomly began screaming, to which Paul just stared at them, appearing to think of something to say, but I suppose nothing came to mind, as he moved right along to a slow, quiet solo-guitar rendition of ´Duncan.´
´Graceland´ was next, to which the crowd went absolutely wild; followed by ´Father and Daughter´. An unidentified boy (maybe 12 or 13) was on stage to sing the backup vocals for this song, and Paul never said who he was. I´m not sure if he has a son that maybe that age, or if it was someone else, or if it was even the same person that sang the backup vocals for the studio version.
Once the crowd stopped cheering for ´Father and Daughter´ paul walked up to the microphone and simply spoke the words ´She´s a rich girl.´ Once the audience caught on and started cheering, a slower introduction to ´Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes´ was sung, leading into a very upbeat and well-balanced version of the song. The background vocals were very reminiscent of the studio version of the song.
´Still Crazy after All These Years´ was next, followed by ´Cecilia´. The house lights were turned on during this song, Paul took a short bow and left the stage.
He and the band then came out for the first encore. ´Call Me Al´ again received thunderous applause, and the majority of the crowd could be seen standing and dancing at their seats. Once the song was done, paul spoke his second and final set of words for the evening: ´The next song is an old Simon and Garfukel song...because there aren´t any new Simon and Garfunkel songs.´ Once that comment was made with a smurk on his face, he sang ´The Only Living Boy in New York,´ followed by ´The Boxer.´ The opening act, Jerry Douglas, was brought out for this song, and he played the instrumental verse on a slide guitar. The crowd was given the task of singing the ´Lie la lie´s´, and an extra instrumental verse was added to the end of the song.
Encore #2 seemed to bring disappointment to the crowd, as the first song was ´Wartime Prayers´ off the new album, and again nobody knew it. The final song of the evening, ´Bridge over Troubled Water,´ seemed to me to be one of the weaker parts of the show. The beginning of the song was played with solo guitar, with other instruments joining later; but somehow I think he could´ve ended with something better.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I think I would´ve enjoyed it more if the crowd was more lively, but I guess that´s a factor that can´t be altered. If anyone is going to see him anywhere on this tour you are in for a treat, just make sure you know all the songs first ;-)
It was a life chaning experience. I saw Simon & Garfunkel twice at the same venue during Old Friends I & II. But a Paul Simon solo show takes the cake. Jerry Douglas was awesome as well. I know Mohegan pumped a lot of money into making the room sound good, and it did. It is one of the better sounding arenas. Paul did some new takes on old songs. I liked most of Boy in the Bubble, and Diamonds grew on me as the night went on. He opened with Gumboots, which some people either don´t know, or don´t like, so they were panning it. I think it was a great song to open with. Paul did not talk to to crowd a lot, but he never really does. After Outrageous, he scanned the crowd and stood on one of the floor monitors to get higher to see, very unlike him. It was great to see the usual suspects in the band, in particular Bakithi Kumalo. He came through crystal clear all night. Andy Snitzer´s talent was lost on the YTO DVD from Paris, because there were so many other horn players, but last night, he was very good, he was just by himself. Graceland shook the house, and received a standing ovation. Most of the Graceland songs did (at least from me). My row was filled with VIPs, so at least I didn´t have to deal with drunk or rude people. Mohegan saves the first three sections for their high rollers, who usually show up drunk and or late and leave early, because their tickets are free or cheaper. The outro to HCYLITNE was very loud, but clear. There was very little feedback all night, most occured before he sang The Only Living Boy in New York. He did the usual Garden State intro, which was the reason I went to see the movie three times. One man on house right of the arena was shocked when he started to sing Duncan, and expressed his surprise by using explatives. It was funny, to me atleast. It was very nice of the Mohegan security crew not to stop people from taking pictures. Usually they do, that´s why I didn´t bring a camera, but there were a lot of people with cameras and flashes. Mark Stewart continues to amaze. Steve Gadd was a pleasure as usual. All in all the concert was spectacular and I will remember it for a long time.
I have seen Paul three times solo, and once with Art Garfunkel...he keeps getting better, which always amazes me; like myself, the guy´s getting up there!
His opening act, Jerry Douglas, was known to the friend accompaning me, so that was a real kick.
Paul took the stage at about 8:30, and never entirely relinquished it until 10:30; my friend said she went in with the thought that he was an aging folk singer, and came away with an entirely different perspective. She said, and I agreed, that he can kick butt big time.
Opening with an excellent performance of Gumboots, from the groundbreaking Graceland album, he went on to sing The Boy in the Bubble and this year s Outrageous.
Next came Slip Slidin Away, and most of the people in my section (26) were singing along.
You re the One, from 2000 s CD of the same name followed, and was well received, but it was the next number, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, that helped fans find their feet.
How Can You Live in the Northeast?, which, like Outrageous, was pulled from his new CD, Surprise, The Only Living Boy in New York, and Mrs. Robinson and Loves Me Like a Rock followed; Simon s impressive ability on electric guitar wowed the crowd--and, again, I can speak only for my particular area. We were close to the big screens, so a lot of the other crowd reactions got by us.
That Was Your Mother is a song that always makes me wonder if the quiet kid who wrote The Sound of Silence was responsible for it--it´s a fun song, and the band did it justice.
Duncan, from Simon s first album following the split with Garfunkel, drew a good laugh from the guys sitting in front of us; when Simon cracked up over the line thanking the Lord for my fingers , they were howling.
The Oscar nominated Father and Daughter provided a touching moment--even if a lot of fans do not seem to know Adrian Simon, Paul´s 14-year-old son...and, yes, he provided the harmony on the recording of the song. I understand from people who have seen other shows that Paul does sometimes introduce him, but, apparently, it makes the kid feel a little shy--typical for the age, I suppose--so he doesn´t always do it.
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and Still Crazy After All These Years, preceded the set closer, Cecilia, and all three had the baby-boomers in Sec. 26 on their feet--in fact, several people went over to Sec. 27, which was unused, and were dancing like mad.
The encores (2) included The Boxer, You Can Call Me Al, and Wartime Prayers--I loved the line Because you cannot walk with the holy, if you re just a halfway decent man ; and, finally, Bridge Over Troubled Water, which I think was one of the best performances he has ever done of it.
I hope this tour results in a DVD, since this was a show worth seeing again.