Jul 2, 2006

Concert Review: Paul Simon

Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, July 2 2006; photo courtesy of Ladydibluescorner.com

(Toledo, OH) Attending a concert of Paul Simon is like spending an evening with an old friend: you laugh a little, reminisce about days gone by, and catch up on what that person has been doing over the last few years.

Simon is on the road promoting his new album Surprise, and he sprinkled cuts from the disc throughout the 21-song, 100-minute set. Particularly striking was the song "Father and Daughter," with the evocative line "There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you."

There was a decided Bakersfield twang to a number of standards, including "Mrs. Robinson," which had also added a funky backbeat. His acoustic guitar rang crisp and clear across the cloudy sky, which for the most part held back on predicted showers.

The gritty Buck Owens-esque rhythm guitar also shone on the song "Graceland," which featured a bit of punchy honky-tonk not found in the original. "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" received a reggaefied treatment in the updated version performed by his eight-piece band.

Simon reminded the audience that he "used to be in this group called Simon and Garfunkel," generating laughter.

"In which I played Paul Simon," he deadpanned.

I initially thought I would make some wisecracks about the average age of the crowd, which appeared to be about 50 (I saw my first walker-aided concertgoer tonight). As the show went on, however, my cynicism passed in favor of recognition that there were many teens and twenty-somethings in the crowd; I realized that Simon's incredible lyricism has stood the test of time, and the younger audience members sang along with those, well, older than me.


Like an old friend, too, Simon has a way of making powerful comments in an understated way, sneaking up on you like a quiet conscience. From "Slip Sliding Away:"

God only knows, God makes his plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
We're working our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away

It was good to see you again, Paul. Thanks for gracing Toledo with a memorable show on this 21-date tour.


Anonymous said...

Wanted to go, but couldn't afford the ticket price.

LTLOP said...

Its good to see a "big" name come to Toledo. I remember when Billy Joel used to come here literally every year then he got "too big" and we haven't seen him around these parts in quite a long time.

historymike said...

Yes, ticket prices were a bit steep, anonymous ($50-$89), but they are all getting expensive. Plus, Simon doesn't tour that much, so I had to shell out to see him again. It's been over 20 years since I last attended a Paul Simon concert.

historymike said...

Agreed about Toledo's luck, ltlop.

One of only 21 cities to be so honored, and he chose Toledo over Detroit.

He mentioned in the show that he thinks this was his first visit ever to Toledo.

historymike said...

Last night's set list:

1. Gumboots
2. The Boy in the Bubble
3. Outrageous
4. Slip Sliding Away
5. You're the One
6. Me and Julio
7. How Can You Live in the Northeast?
8. Mrs. Robinson
9. Loves Me Like a Rock
10. That Was Your Mother
11. Lincoln Duncan
12. Graceland
13. Father and Daughter
14. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
15. Still Crazy After All These Years
16. Cecilia
First Encore
17. You Can Call Me Al
18. The Only Boy Living in New York
19. The Boxer
Second Encore
20. Wartime Prayers
21. Bridge Over Troubled Water

liberal_dem said...

Simon was the 2nd male guitarist to sing in Toledo in the past 3 weeks. That other one sailed his boat from the islands and wowed a small knot of fans at the Rally by the River. His foul list of songs with sexual overtones in each one clearly classified him as the 'B' entertainer.

I suppose though that, when you sing in front of drunks, you can continue to do 'B' work and the audience thinks that you are a star.

Congratulations to Toledo for culling in the 'A' singer, Paul Simon, to Toledo.

Lisa Renee said...

I agree with anonymous, I wanted to go but the ticket prices were way out of our entertainment budget. More moments of envy, first Mike gets to go to Hell, then he gets to see Paul...


Pink_Slip said...

The zoo amphitheater is a great place to see a concert. I've seen The Tragically Hip play there about 4 times...

Hooda Thunkit said...

I would have been there, if I had found out sooner, but I would have been there regardless of when I found out, if it were Simon and Garfunkel performing.

The pair are/were awesome!

Anonymous said...

So great to read this review - thank you! I have tickets for the San Antonio show and I can't wait! I'm one of the 20-somethings that absolutely ADORES Paul Simon - especially from the Granceland album and before. Tickets are $80 here but to see him in concert is definitely worth it.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone open for him?
I Have excellent seats for him in Chicago next week. Cannot wait.