Vincent Nguini - Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo - Bass
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Tony Cedras - Accordeon, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer - Saxophone, Synthesizer
Jay Ashby - Trombone, Percussion
Jamey Haddad - Percussion
Alain Mallet - Keyboard, Accordion
Steve Shehan - Percussion
Jim Hynes - Trumpet
Graham Hawthorne - Drums
Paul Simon has entered the new millennium in the same fashion as he left the old one ´“ a legend, a genius and a bona fide first-class entertainer. And when his tour bus came into town on July 17 for his show with Brian Wilson at Hersheypark´s Star Pavilion, he brought all of his accolades with him. And his songs.
Opening up with ´That´s Where I Belong´ from the new album, You´re The One (the title-song of which he also played), Simon razzled, dazzled and repeatedly brought the near capacity crowd to their feet, with hits spanning his impressive fifty-plus year career. The play list ran like a who´s who of great pop songs: ´Late In The Evening´ ´The Boxer,´ ´Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard,´ ´You Can Call Me Al,´ ´Still Crazy After All These Years,´ it goes on.
Bringing an 11 piece band of singularly phenomenal musicians, Simon showed the house just how strong his foundations are by recreating, rearranging and reinterpreting his songs, sometimes shuffling up the beat, sometimes playing up the rhythm ´“ and through it all, each song not only became itself but also unfolded like a rose and every bit as beautifully. Change-ups of ´Kodachrome,´ ´Mrs. Robinson,´ and ´Cecilia´ all treated the audience by allowing them to hear old favorites renewed, and with rewards just as sweet.
The songs from his new album really came alive and showed themselves for the first time as keeping good company with the others. And while certain renderings recalled the folk singer-songwriter of Simon and Garfunkle fame (´Homeward Bound,´ ´The Sounds of Silence´) other weren´t afraid to rock out, (´Proof,´ ´Loves Me Like A Rock´). Still others held the world-beat examples that pointed him as the leader of world-beat in the 80´s, such as his mega-hit ´Graceland´ played here to perfection. In-between it all, Simon entertained the crowd with laid-back interactions and off-the-cuff stage banter.
Before the show, the forecasters were predicting rain but even the skies couldn´t resist holding out for Paul Simon. All in all, a five star show at the Star Pavilion.