Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Paul Simon's Dangling Conversations

These are the days of miracle and wonder

I would not give you false hope on this strange and mournful day

All my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity

Some people say a lie’s a lie a lie but I say why
Why deny the obvious child

The fact is most obits are mixed reviews,
Life’s a lottery, a lot of people lose

I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers

The nearer your destination the more you’re slip slidin’ away

As each drum rap or guitar riff  moved into a familiar tune, spreading another smile across my face, I said in recognition, “Oh just another classic.”  In fact the entire concert at Wolftrap Farm Park was a showcase of Rhymin’s Simon’s lasting imprint on American music.

Even the three new songs from his Stranger to Stranger album captivated the audience and Wrist Band might put him back on Top Forty Radio.  But the fans came to hear their favorites and Simon did not disappoint thanks to his limitless energy, still-strong voice and a tour band that threatened to blow the roof off the amphitheater. 

 These ten guys displayed some eye-catching versatility. At one point there were five people playing  guitars along with Paul. At another there were five people playing different drums.  And during one song alone the lead guitarist played a recorder and a saxophone between riffs. The result was a freshness and energy that made each song seem like it had just been released for the first time.

From The Boy in The Bubble to The Boxer, Simon led the musical parade down memory lane reminding us all that not only are his lyrics timeless but his music is always inventive and enthralling.

Homeward Bound was done as a little countrified waltz,  Spirit Voices was a mashup of Charles Ives and Aztec rhythms and You Can Call Me Al was an old fashioned barn burner that had the audience signing and dancing in the aisles.

Throughout the evening, I kept asking, “How can he top this?” and of course, he simply changed guitars and broke into yet another hit from his musical vault. By the time the saxophone solo punctuated Still Crazy After All These Years, the only response was more applause.

Simon has been bending our minds and mending our hearts with his special blend of ironic commentary, political anger and personal philosophy for at least half a century.  As he demonstrated on the stage and with his newest album there seems to be no stopping him. He is A Rock looking down on the sands of our times.


  1. An excellent post and review. Love the headline.
    He is the master of so many classics, indeed!
    So happy you enjoyed such a wonderful performance.

  2. I have read that he is cashing it in, saying he's done with the music business. A good life, if that's all there is. (Hey, somebody else wrote that, didn't they?)

  3. Thanks guys. I overheard some chatter about this being his last tour and that would seem to be our loss although who can begrudge him some time on the beach. Last time around is certainly motivating our concert going.

  4. We saw him and his stupefyingly good band at Forest Hills on July 1. I felt I'd seen something historic; all the more so because of a torrential rain delay lasting about two hours, and the serious possibility that the concert would be called. Then the show actually went on, and continued with multiple encores. Pure rapture.