The neck of my Guitar

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October 10, 2006 - USA / Colorado
Denver - Magness 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


Review by:
Tim Dwenger

Paul Simon wrote the words īEverybody loves the sound of a train in the distance,ī almost 25 years ago and last night at Magness Arena I felt for a time that he had foreshadowed his own career. When the band dusted off this old favorite for one of itīs only recent performances about a third of the way through the evening, I have to admit that I was a bit unhappy with the show. I was second guessing my great memories of the 3 other times I had seen Simon, and feeling like Iīd ībeen hadī by my own memory. Like loving the sound of a a train in the distance but being horrified by itīs thunderous roar as it rushes by you, had I romanticized my other Paul Simon experiences? At that point in the show I had to say īyes.ī

Let me recap what led me to that conclusion. The show opened with what should have been a powerful one-two punch of īGumbootsī and īThe Boy in Bubbleī off of Simonīs 1988 masterpiece Graceland. However, the band seemed flat, no one in the audience had any energy at all, and quite frankly I blame all this on the fact that the sound couldnīt have been worse. Simonīs voice was hidden under layers of reverb and echos and you couldnīt tell the keyboards from the guitars. This is what a sound check is for gentelmen! Fix the problems before the band takes the stage and if you do have to do a little tweaking (as is expected) do it right away during the first verse of the first song. It shouldnīt take 3 or 4 songs to get sound issues ironed out. I assume Simon is travelling with a profession sound crew and not hiring kids from local garage bands to do his sound. Bad sound may be a pet peeve of mine, but if I am paying $80 to see a concert I fully expect the sound to be, at worst, tolerable.

It wasnīt until about 4 songs into the set, as the instantly recognizable drums of ī50 Ways To Leave Your Loverī broke through the wall of the mud that was the soundstage at this point, that the audience showed any signs of life. This was the beginning of a long road up for Simon and his band as they tried to climb out of the deep hole the sound crew tossed them into.

A veteran performer it was clear that Simon was up to the challenge and he was going to do his best to win over even the harshest critics in the crowd. They really seemed to feed of the energy that the crowd was starting to show and really got things going when they took us back to the 50Ä«s for a old time rock-n-roll version of the classic Ä«Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard.Ä«

With the sound problems finally fixed (for the most part) and the crowdīs energy level rejuvenated I began to remember why I shelled out my $80 to see him again. The first highlight of the night came a little before the halfway mark when the first few notes of īDuncanī rang out. Always one of my very favorite Paul Simon songs, it was a thrill to see him perform it live. Lyrics like īHoles in my confidence, holes in the knees of my jeans,ī and īwell I told her I was lost and she told me all about the Pentecost,ī have been burned into my memory since I was in middle school. īDuncanī is, in my opinion, one of Simonīs most well written songs. The genius of making up words like īdestitutedī to suit his purpose and rhyming īhock itī with īpocket,ī are marks of a truly creative soul.

īOutrageous,ī īHow Can You Live In The Northeastī and the solo encore of īWartime Prayers.ī were the three songs that Simon chose to weave into the set from his most recent effort Surprise. There were a few cheers for the new numbers but sadly they largely served as opportunities to run to the bathroom for most people. Simon has an established and well loved catalogue of music and unfortunately most of his fans just arenīt at a point in their lives where they are broadening their horizons anymore. Surprise is an album that shows the youth of Simonīs mind and his love for music. He has been reinventing his sound for decades and his reliance on the ambient soundscapes created by Brian Eno on the new album yeild truly rewarding results that proves he is still the musician he was all those years ago.

Simon reinvented a couple of his old favorites throughout the night both intentionally and unintentionally. He dumbfounded most of the capacity crowd when his band turned up their amps and rocked through the coda to īBridge Over Troubled Waterī and a fantastic new arrangement of īDiamonds on the Soles of her Shoesī brought the crowd to their feet to close set that steadily gotten better for me. On the unintentional side, both Lindsay and I noted that he often seemed to come in early or late causing him to alter the phrasing on many of his songs. New arrangements of older tracks I understand and respect, but outstanding phrasing is one of the many things that have made Simon one of the best songwriters of the last 100 years. Maybe 30 years of singing the same songs is taking itīs toll.

In perhaps his most moving and spot on performance of the night Simon wowed the crowd with a stellar rendition of īThe Only Living Boy In New York.ī I recently read that Simon introduced the song this summer in Connecticut by saying that he had forgotten about it until he recently saw Garden State. He didnīt introduce it to us that way, and in fact he spoke very little from the stage the entire evening, but maybe the freshness of the song in his mind brought him back to a time when it was new to him. Back to a time when he sang it with the passion that one has when they are knee deep in the creative process.

Though he wasnīt very personable from his perch up there on the stage, and he may not have nailed every song, it was a hell of an evening. Simon is a legend for so many reasons and there is something about being in the presence of greatness, even if it isnīt as great as it once was. To use his words īoh, what a night, oh what a garden of delight, even now that sweet memory lingers,ī and it will linger for years to come and next time Simon comes to town Iīll be in line early to get my tickets. Maybe heīll become the train in the distance that he wrote about 25 years ago but along the way heīs helped to make some wonderful memories.

Review by:

I saw Paul Simon in August at Lake Tahoe and I was very DISAPPOINTED...He looked tired and bored by the whole thing...It is honorable that he tours for his fans, but the audience didnīt respect him and he didnīt rise to the occasion...The audience was embarrassing because they didnīt have any energy, but he didnīt either...His band was below par...However, heīs still Paul Simon and I love his music...I feel like he would do better if he only did a few concerts a year at bigger venues....I worry that heīs not feeling well physically and mentally..You get this sense that something is wrong in his life...He didnīt even say hello to the audience nor a good bye which made me sad because I love to hear his voice and he owes it to his audience to thank them and greet them...

Review by:

This was my first time seeing Paul live (well, solo - I saw Simon and Garfunkel in ī03 or whenever it was). I have to say, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The set list was excellent and the musicianship impeccable (as it always is with Paulīs bands...especially when Steve Gadd is on drums.) I donīt know where the first reviewer was sitting, but where I was the sound was decent. Not the best Iīve seen in that venue, but good considering that itīs a wierdly shaped, hockey-specific arena. I agree that the crowd could have showed more energy at first, but they woke up for some of the biggies. Besides, to me itīs the music alone that makes or breaks a show. I donīt care what other people do with their time and money - IīM going to enjoy myself. And I definately did that.

I think the best part for me, speaking as a musician, was the way Paul rearranged some of the songs. The half-time feel on īBoy in the Bubbleī was really cool and I loved the groove they put behind īBridge Over Troubled Water.ī Closing with The Boxer might not have been the best choice. As much as I love Jerry Douglas, his help wasnīt enough to make this a closer. I like leaving shows after something that grooves harder (i.e. īLate in the Eveningī). But that was my biggest problem with the night. Song selection was great: 4 or 5 off of Graceland, 5 S&G tunes (including one of my all-time favorite Paul Simon compositions in īThe Only Living Boy in New Yorkī), some new stuff, a rarity or 2 (as mentioned in earlier reviews), and all the classics (ī50 Waysī, etc.).

The musicianship: Steve Gadd was in top form all night (they donīt call him īFather Timeī for nothing) and I really appreciate how Paul has adapted his melodies to fit his voice as heīs aged (i.e. not hitting the high note in the chorus of īMe and Julio...ī is smart - better to go down than to try and hit that note and screw it up.) He just doesnīt have that range anymore, but despite the loss of the high end of his register, he sounds phenominal. The horn players were decent. Heard a few cracked notes, but overall it was good. And the sax solo on īStill Crazy...ī was 100% pure cheese baby-making music. Classic.

Overall, a very strong show from the band.

Review by:

I have seen Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen all this year and this show was better than all of them. Well the Seeger sessions was pretty dam good. The sound was straightened out by the third song and the show was great. The problem is the lame energy from all the old timers wishing they were back in the early 60Ä«s listening some acoustic Simon and Garfunkel and complaining about how much the ticket was and how late its was on a Tuesday night. This is why he has to play 4 encores, in order to create a sense of urgency with the crowd. Paul played to the crowds energy. The band sounded great and I really liked how they re-worked some of the classics. Mrs. Robinson with Jerry Douglas was amazing, that guy is a master of his trade. My highlight would have to be Wartime prayers. I have his new album and I pretty much skip by that song but after Tuesday night that might be my new favorite. As he always has done, Paul has captured the pulse of our culture right now in this song!

To all the old timers who were complaining about us standing and dancing: īWhoīs gone a love ya when your looks are gone!ī

Review by:

Three days later and Iīm still rockinī from Tuesdayīs concert! My first time @Magnus Arena and I must say I appreciated the smaller venue and enjoyed the show 100%. I canīt think of a better singer/songwriter, NO exceptions! We love you Paul! And Happy Birthday today!

Review by:
Chris Watkins

Paul played beautifully, a great mix of old and new songs. I have never witnessed four encores within a single concert. Paul led his band back for each one and completed the concert with his heart felt thanks and his comments of how he enjoyed the night as much as we did. This was one of my favorite concerts of all time. I hope he returns to Denver soon!