So, at the 11th hour, my angelic mole in the evil empire comes good and two tickets are procured for Paul Simon at Wembley. Now given that Paul Simon is, I think the only artist that’s been around for more than 20 years with not one song that I don’t like, you can imagine this was a pretty big event for me. Until yesterday morning, if you’d asked me my top 3 artists I’ve still yet to see, you’d have had Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Tom Waits in that order. Tom’s just been promoted. :o)
The delectable Jude Simpson was round in the afternoon, to try out some poetry ‘n’ bass ideas for future gigs (that stuff’s going to be magic – Jude’s a stunning performer, and she guested on what is probably my best ever gig – the last night of the Fringe, in 2005). Anyway, the late showing for the tickets meant that TSP bowed out, and Jude got the treat of a lifetime… or at least a nighttime and came with me to the gig.
Which. Was. Perfect. Everything you’d want from a Paul Simon gig except more chat (didn’t really say much between songs, sadly) – the sound was great (especially for Wembley), the band were out of this world (Steve Gadd live? I can die happy), and Paul himself was on absolute tip top form. I’ve long held that his vocal phrasing is one of the most wonderful and perfect things in the history of music, and tonight he was the living embodiment of that. A great set list, with three tracks from the new album, the title track from You’re The One, and hits going back to The Boxer and Homeward Bound. I’ll see if I can dig up the set list online somewhere. As the subject here says, all seems well with the world when Paul Simon sings. The man that comes across in his songs is someone I’d like to grow up to be, and his lyrics could quite easily form a guide to live by.
One of the beautiful things about Paul Simon is that he’s always written for his age – I mean his own age, rather than ‘the age of man’ or whatever – so his now in his 60s and writes with the wisdom of a man that age, looking back on a life well lived, with faults and failures and a sanguine approach, having learnt the lessons and moved on. I wanted to hug him after the gig, but unusually for me, I didn’t bump into anyone who could procure me a backstage pass…
Anyway, if there’s one person to see live in your life, it’s Paul Simon. Go and buy ‘Surprise’, his latest album it’s lovely, and while you’re there, get the last one, ‘You’re The One’. It’s the wisdom of the elders, and we’ve lost that in so much of western culture. And he’s still funkier than most funk bands! Grooves a mile wide, tunes you’re humming for days.
A gig with everything right. Yay for Paul Simon! And thanks to Jude for being a tip-top gig-buddy! :o)by