The neck of my Guitar

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November 04, 2006 - United Kingdom
Manchester - M.E.N.arena

The band (not all members are present at all shows)

Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Steve Gadd - Drums
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Robin diMaggio - Drums, percussion
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Harper Simon - Guitar
Adrian Simon - Keyboards

Fans who attended this show

Daniel Maddock
Sue Ridgway

Review by:
Roy Wood

I agree that it was a great night all round. However, it is a pity that some of the arrangements were played a little too fast which meant that the lyrics seemed difficult to sing without losing some of the feeling, and I thought that the band,whilst providing a good solid backing had arrangements that at times were predictable and laboured to deal with them. It is also a pity that people whistle and shout at the most inappropriate times, after all, Paul Simon is a poet, his words mean something and deserved to be listened to.

Review by:
James Bennett

WOW!!!!!!!!! My first ever Paul Simon Concert as i am only 21 i never got to see all them years ago. I though it was absolutely amazing. Great version of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Well Done Paul

James xx

Review by:
kevin chesters

This is one of the best concerts i have every seen.The upbeat version of Mrs Robinson was brillant. Also do not understand why people did not get up at all. It was one of the most beautiful concerts i have every had the pleasure to be in. Had to leave my seat and dance in the isle at the side. Then about 20 minutes into i was very annoyed to see the beautiful/lucky people that were at the front. Been told to get in their seats. M E N where bang out of order. Was also told to seat back in my seat. It did not spolt it. He got better and better as the night when on. Got on really well with the people next to me when where the only ones looked as we were haveing fun. Was told by some of the Live meeting people that i was in for a treat, my god i was. It was only half full. Thought it would have been fuller.Really nice meeting The Live Meeting people. Hopefully there be another concert to go to soon. Think i would spend good money to see this brill man.

Review by:
Adam Draycott

From start to finish the show was sensational. Paul, you are are a true legend, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Review by:
Ryan Cosford

What words can be used to describe the greatest feeling in the world? None i think. I cant beleive i have actually seen my life long idol, i say life long but i am only 18, i have loved paul simon and Art Garfunkel (as a duo and paul simon on his own) since i was about 8, my aunt and uncle used to play the definitive S&G album in the car and i asked for a copy(8 can ya believe it) and i have always said, I hope i get to see them (or just one (PAUL)) in concert before i die and on the 11th november it came true, i really wanted to go on stage and shake his hand but i guess i was hoping for too much, i have to admit that when he wlked on stage i got a shiver down my back as though this is better than sex, and i burst out in tears when it was over.
Paul your the greatest.
Ryan Cosford
18yrs old

Review by:
Jimmy Sheldon

My first ever concert at the M.E.N arena and i was skeptical about 2 things mainly, first the price of the tickets and second the size of M.E.N and i thought it may difficult for Paul to achieve the atmosphere he deserves in such a huge place. However both of these doubts were cast aside almost straight away. The genneraly old audience seemed reserved to get up from there seats and have a jig. But when Paul played ´me and julio´, as has been mentioned in other reviews, security let people to the front. I was lucky enough to get down there quickly and be right at the front along with me 4 other friends. From that point the intensity of the gig was phenomenal (spelling?) everyone was dancing and singing all the way through.
To begin with at the front, a few people were slight rowdy and perhaps slightly intoxicated to say the least. And during such songs as ´How can you live in the northeast?´ the drunkerns were shouting ´Paul Simon!´ and ´Come on Paul!´. He knows his name and he knows your infront of him, so show a bit of respect and let the man sing his songs. These few people, i believe, were the reason everyone else was sent back to their seats.
None the less, after several attempts to get back to the front we suceeded just in time for the 3rd encore which seemed to last forever, with not wanting to leave the stage. After an astonishing and special performance of homeward bound he took a step back and seemed to be muttering to himself, counting all the songs hes played and trying to find something else to play, only to say ´theres notihng left for me to play´. This for me, made the night, the fact that Paul Simon, after an already extended set wanted to stay for more.

As a final note my skepticism was locked away for ceratin as a beautiful acoustic ´birdge over´ which was, like many other songs, worth the ticket price on its own.

Thankyou everyone who made it a special night, especially Paul and the band.


Review by:

Manchester last night was my fourth Paul Simon concert - and what a blast! (Wembley, 1990; Seattle, 2001; Edinburgh; 2002) After the fantastic music in the previous concerts I must confess to having been a little disappointed in the BBC concert earlier this year but I need not have worried for Manchester. The addition of Robin DiMaggio on drums really filled the sound out and everyone else´s multi-tasking made for a new and equally memorable Paul Simon sound.

The concert came alive after Me & Julio, which was taken at a fair lick (seeming even to shock the band!) Then there followed classic after classic, each one having been re-worked. Although I´ve been to 4 PS concerts, I´ve never heard the same song performed in the same way twice - a mark of a truely great musician. Yesterday the live sound was enhanced by an Apple - expanding on Eno´s influence. Diamonds - the first ending - was spectacular; completely different to the original but equally as memorable.

Part of the job of being a fan is wanting more and I certainly could devour much much more from Mr Simon. If his obvious enjoyment of last night is an indicator of the future we´ll have a live album and then another studio album in no time at all! (Oh - by the way, my T-shirt is copywrited 2007 - a mistake or maybe he´s coming back again soon? I do hope so!)

Review by:
Mr Morningstarr*

Mr Simon took to the road this Autumn promoting his latest album ´Surprise´, his first in six years.

The Arena was far from sold out, with the top tier closed off to the public and still empty seats available. With seating fixed on the main arena floor the usual capacity was far from complete, possibly a reflection of his status which is long past it´s heyday. Paul still managed to woo his audience with many of his classics dating back to his career with wild haired Arthur Garfunkel.

The set list was as follows:

Slip Slidin´ Away
You´re The One
Me And Julio
Train In The Distance
Loves Me Like A Rock
That Was Your Mother
Father And Daughter
Only Living Boy In New York
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes

First Encore

Call Me Al
Still Crazy
Mrs Robinson

Second Encore

Wartime Prayers
Late In The Evening
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Third Encore

The Boxer
Homeward Bound

This mix managed to keep his fans more than happy, with highlights being ´Me and Julio´, ´Bridge Over Troubled Water´ and a marvellous cover of Chevy Chase´s hit ´Call Me Al´.

´The Boxer´ has long been a personal favourite of mine, and the Manchester audience were treated to a special solo rendition of ´Homeward Bound´, a song missing from his usual setlist and possibly an aknowledgement to Manchester being his closest tour date to Widnes, where the song was originally penned.

The show was quite a low key affair, concentrating on the songs rather than performance or showmanship. In this age of Stadium or Arena rock, his stage set couldn´t be compared to the likes of U2 or similar stadium rockers. One could be forgiven for feeling short changed on their £45 ticket price. For die hard Paul Simon fans I´m sure the songs alone were worth the money, I´d have rather seen a show of this type in a more intimate venue. This certainly wasn´t the case for everyone who attended, a large crowd gathered right at the foot of the stage, just a few feet away from the man himself, despite security´s best efforts to get them all back in their seats. This was obviously the best thing to do, because at what looked like just over four feet tall, Mr Simon was quite difficult to spot from the back of the room.

All in all I enjoyed myself, just wish he´d done that one from Watership Down.

You can read and comment on my review here:

I hope you liked it.

Review by:

Fabulous gig, as well as Paul and the Band being great, great crowd, especially those who braved security to bring some atmosphere. Thanks for posting the set list, I agree with the first post. Am I the only one who thinks he also played ´I don´t believe´ from the new album though? also, did anyone catch who the bass player was?

Review by:
David Farthing, Ipswich UK

If there is a song-writer who has written and performed their songs so consistently over such a long period, I can´t think of her or him. Paul Simon is the man and for him to serenade those of us in the M.E.N. on Saturday night in his 3rd and final encore with, what is for me, his signature tune - Homeward Bound (depends where you joined his long trail of success I guess?) was more than I could have asked for in buying my ticket. Paul couldn´t find the words to express his thanks although he certainly found the songs. The words I would use are ´a privilage to witness´. If anyone who got to the front has any footage or a picture, it would be great to hear from you on [email protected] as a souvenir would be very welcome!

Review by:

Ooooo what a night, oh what a garden of delight. Even now,that sweet memory lingers.
The memory of that night will stay with me for ever. Other reviewers have paid testament to how great the show was but the night was extra special to me for a few reasons. A fan of nearly 40 years,this was my first concert.I think my wife and i were first to the stage.I´m still pinching myself,was i dreaming or was Paul Simon only two feet away from me, singing some of the greatest songs of all time.Wow!
It just couldn´t get any better,but it did. Later in the concert i actually got to shake the great mans hand. ´Thanks Paul´i said. ´No,thank you´ he replied.
To top the night off,one of the guys on the stage handed me the handwritten set list that had been taped to the floor in front of Paul.
Ooooo what a night!

Review by:
Matt R

Fantastic show!!! My 2nd Paul Simon gig (at the age of 24 I´m proud of that) and I wasn´t dissapointed. The start of the set seemed a little weak, everything was being done differently but the atmosphere didn´t quite seem to suit the show. However things started to get going shortly after.

Me and Julio got everyone dancing which changed things around, although I couldn´t believe how many people refused to get up and dance. The show i saw in Edinburgh had a similar start but as soon as a few folk were dancing that was it, everyone to their feet. However, Saturdays show was full of people who would rather complain at those dancing and stay seated. As soon as we ran to the front the show improved ten fold and you could see it on Pauls face that he was enjoying it. It must be nice for someone who is used to playing such big arenas to play to a standing crowd feet away from them.

The worst thing was to be told to sit down or be removed, understandable, but they were playing Diamonds!! Come on!

Anyway enough about dancing, the show was fantastic, every song was done to such a high level, different arrangements, varying melodies, everything you´d expect from Paul Simon. Particular tracks were, You´re the One, the middle section was truly awesome, Call me Al was amazing (I´m a bassist though so that goes without saying), and the new songs were done very well although i was dissapointed to not hear ´Everything about this is a love song´ as that could have been amazing.

All in all a brilliant and enjoyable concert. My mum told me that i may never see him again, I´d like to think she´s wrong. An artist I´ve grown up with has to be something special, and Paul Simon doesn´t dissapoint. I just wish i could have seen him with a standing audience.

Matt R

Review by:
Gary Stewart

Having had a few days to let the magic of Saturday´s concert sink in,I feel safe in saying that this was the best Simon gig I´ve been to(I´ve seen him 5 times previous-not bad for a guy of 25!!).

Paul´s voice was the best it´s ever been-my girlfriend said to me that if you closed your eyes(which I did many times),you´d think a man of 20-30 was singing.She was right-his voice is timeless.

Being a singer/songwriter and performer myself,it was great to see Simon revelling in the performance he and his amazing band were giving;Simon has recently stated that he enjoys the gigs when the band is really gelling and pulling out the nuances of the music-well,safe to say the band were on fire tonight.What a talented band of consummate performers they are.

We were lucky enough to get to the front of the stage midway through ´Me and Julio´, and got to see the middle of the concert less than a few feet away from Simon´s(by the way, he was sporting a lovely pair of black trainers(that´s english for sneakers)with a white stripe : ). I can´t begin to explain the feeling I had,being this close to a man who has shaped my music and life since I was twelve.

A phenomenal performance,start to finish. Highlights are too many to mention, but BITB, Outrageous,Wartime Prayers and Duncan are prominent in my mind.Simon´s guitar playing in Wartime Prayers was amazing-singing while playing those lines on the guitar-brilliant : )

I don´t want to gripe,as a Simon concert should hold none IMO,but I really wish the stewards weren´t so militant and fun-quenching-the whole arena could have been on their feet for this gig-I feel Simon wanted that;he stated early on,when someone said ´welcome to Manchester´;´This is Manchester? I couldn´t tell, everyone is seated!!´

If you are lucky to be going to the London gig, I´ll see you there-I´ll be the small bearded one with the red beanie hat-and permanent grin on my face : ))))))


Review by:

The people saying that the concert was great in manchester because they got to the front- thanks for ruining our evening, one lady next to me who could not stay for the gig as people were spilling beer on her wouldn`t have said it was great. If you want to jump and dance, go and see an appropriate band as we wanted to sit and listen to the excellent music.
I didn`t get there on the morning of the ticket release date just to have 50 people stand in front of me, pushing and spilling stuff on me.
Paul was of course great but I doubt that paople can say he loved them standing there as he kept pulling faces to us as if to say they were a bit crazy, and looked relieved when they went. Arethey the biggest fans as one person said or just the same idiots that chat and throw stuff in the cinema?
Us people sat down are not miserable, we just like LISTENING to good music and may not actually like dancing. In future go and see U2 as mentioned by one band or some other cheap band. P.S You can Call me Al is not a Chevy Chase cover as one ´fan´ said and Art Garfunkel sings Bright Eyes not Paul Simon, yeh great fans.

Review by:
M Pollard

Paul Simon´s show at the MEN was quite simply brilliant. It was a lesson in letting the songs talk for themselves - and how the audience responded!

Every song was a highlight, so there is no point in singling any one out. The previous review has the set list as I remember it (plenty of surprise, given the static nature of Paul´s set lists in the US).

The sound for the opening two or three numbers was a little thin from our position a third of the way back, Paul´s voice being a bit lost in the mix. This was soon solved, for Boy In The Bubble and Outrageous, which received enthusiastic applause as it started which was good to hear for a new song.

Security let through a group of people to the front of the stage for Me & Julio which immediately seemed to enliven Paul and the band. Those at stage front must have had a great time, and certainly made the rest of the people in the MEN start dancing to the music! When the crowd was told to go back to their seats during Diamonds, they still seemed happy, dancing and twirling with pints held aloft all the way back. They really lifted the mood of the whole show, and while those who may have had their view (and wallet), obstructed by them might have complained, Paul certainly liked it!

The encores all seemed genuinely performed by a man who had had a great night himself, and Homeward definitely appeared to be a special extra for the Manchester crowd who had been singing along to every word since Cecilia.

If you have tickets for any of the remaining UK shows, then you will not be disappointed!

Come back soon Paul!

Review by:
Andy Briggs

Mr Simon is pure genius. This concert was amazing, second only to the Simon & Garfunkel concert 2 years before. I too, like the first reviewer on this page, managed to get right upto the stage and I was within a few feet of Paul. Towards the end of the set Paul seemed truly touched by the warm loving reception he got from a great crowd. When he had sung his last song on the 3rd encore, with tears in his eyes, I could clearly hear him say ´I really wish there was more I could sing, I really do´. To cap off a wonderful night, when the lights went up, I managed to persuade one of the roadies to pass me something from the stage, I came away with Paul´s set list from his mike stand, a treasured possession.

Review by:

Setlist (I think)

1) Gumboots
2) Boy In The Bubble
3) Outrageous
4) 50 Ways
5) Slip Slidin´ Away
6) You´re The One
7) Me and Julio
8) Train In The Distance
9) Northeast
10) Loves Me Like A Rock
11) That Was Your Mother
12) Duncan
13) Graceland
14) Father and Daughter
15) Cecilia
16) Only Living Boy in NY
17) Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes

Encore 1

1) Call me Al
2) Still Crazy
3) Mrs Robinson

Encore 2)

1) Wartime Prayers
2) Late in the Evening
3) Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Encore 3)

1) The Boxer
2) Homeward Bound

I think I got the setlist right. Please correct me if not. I think I may have got the encores mixed up, although he DEFINITELY played Homeward Bound! I know it´s not been played elsewhere on the tour (I don´t know if it´s just a UK thing, or just a Manchester thing since it´s the closest concert to Widnes station?). Whatever the reason, he played it, alone and acoustic, right at the end. Wow!

I won´t go on about how brilliant this concert was. The man´s a legend, we all know that. Suffice to say that it was the best I´ve seen him out of the three concerts I´ve been to before (Liverpool ´02 and S&G Hyde Park ´04). He seemed relaxed, very smiley, and very appreciative of the audience. I´ll let other people say how brilliant it was.

As ever he wasn´t very talkative. Lots of ´thank you´s mainly. The only variation from that was this conversation:

Fan: Welcome to Manchester!
PS: I couldn´t tell it was Manchester, you´re all sat down!
Fan: I was here in ´˜04
PS (mishearing): I thought you said ´It´s still ´04!´ I thought I´d missed out on the last third of a decade!

And that was about it for chatter. Apart from at the very end when he said ´I wish I could think of something more eloquent to say than thank you, but I mean it very much.´

He was on top form, as were the band. Steve Gadd especially. This is the best band I´ve seen him with. And the best show too. All the songs were very well received, and the set list was a brilliant mix.

After ´Me and Julio,´ about 50 fans at the front stayed stood up beyond the front row, right at the foot of the stage. I joined them (I was only 7 rows back to start with), and we were literally only about 6 feet away from Paul for the rest of the show, before being sent back to our seats before the encore by security. This was amazing, to get so close to him! He didn´t seem to mind, as we all seemed to be the biggest fans, knowing all the words to the songs ´“ even the less famous ones. The atmosphere down there was incredible, although I don´t know how it was elsewhere. At one point one of the people at the very front (a man) shouted ´I want to have your babies Paul!´ which made Paul smile. And people were shouting that they loved Edie too. I can´t believe I was so close! Far closer than I´ve ever been to anyone at a gig before. It was unreal. I wasn´t allowed to take photos at the very front, but did sneak a couple, and you can see them, together with some from my seat, at www.pbase.com/rickbaum/paulsimon.

A cracking night. Thanks Paul.

Review by:
Barry Dyson

Review by Barry Dyson
Paul Simon Manchester ´“ UK ´“ 4th Sep 06

First Paul Simon gig for me and my mate who attended MEN arena. Absolutely gobsmackingly fantastic. The set list was a well thought out and we left totally satisfied that we had heard all the songs we would have hand picked ourselves.

No song was played by the great man in a way I´ve ever heard before. Nothing sounded like it was straight from a studio album as with some concerts. Let this be testament to the fantastic band. It was great to see the wonderful Steve Gadd showing his usual loyalty to his mate. As for the rest of the band, PS knows how to get some of the finest musicians to achieve the highest standard to match him. The band was awesome!

My only gripe was the reluctance of the crowd to get to their feet and instil a greater atmosphere. Our seat was pretty much at the back, (Crikey, tickets sold far too fast to get nearer the front), but the sound was superb, (after the first 3 or 4 songs). We seemed to be alone at the back when getting to our feet, except for two equally as enthusiastic young girls from Liverpool. It left me feeling that I´d love to be part of the gathering crowd at the front ´“ which unfortunately were moved on after a while. I appreciate why security moved them on, but I would´ve loved to have got close to the maestro for a few minutes.
I have never been to a concert with three encores, genius! I just think he loved playing for us so much that he didn´t want to go.

But eventually he did go, but do come back Paul.

Review by:
Michiel, Netherlands

This concert was the best I´ve seen from Paul Simon.

I´ve seen quite a lot (in February 1987 I attended the first Graceland show ever in Rotterdam, in June 1989 also Graceland in Goffert stadium Nijmegen (Holland), in 1991 Rotterdam, 2002 Brussels, 2003 S&G Boston, 2004 S&G Amsterdam, Koln and Rome). And now in 2006 Simon in Manchester UK!

As I was lucky enough to see half of the show from a distance of 4-5 meters from him, it was really possible to watch the details of the man from such a short distance. I noticed his voice was very good. I mean very, very good. I never saw him singing live this good. For example, when he played Duncan it was as if I heard the live record Live Rhymin´ (track 5), decades ago now. The part ´survival´ in ´I think that girl was the road to my survival´ was perfectly sung.

I saw Simon was a little bit emotional when the crowd applauded. Maybe this has to do with his love for England (nostalgic).

It was a great concert, with a voice in great shape. Thank you Mr. Simon.

If you are going to the concert as well, be prepared to see a good show. I hope they will decide to visit the rest of Europe as well.