So I saw Sting and Paul Simon in concert last night. I will warn you that this review may be slightly biased toward the Paul Simon element of the night, mainly because I was so freaked out that I was seeing Paul Simon!
I’ve been eyeing off tickets to various concerts in the last few years but find the cost of tickets prohibitive. I can talk myself out of the expense by satisfying myself with my aging CD collection. Imagine my delight when I got a private facebook message from my Mum five days ago.
“Won tickets to Sting and Paul Simon. Dad doesn’t want to go, do you want to come?” she wrote.
My reply was a simple “OMG, yes.”
Sunday afternoon found me circulating the house, humming ‘Mrs Robinson’ to myself. Arriving at the venue, we didn’t know what seats we had been allocated. The guy at the box office opened the envelope and looked at us with a smile, “You got great seats. Gold section, B4” Yes! High fives.
There were people everywhere and the atmosphere was scintillating. Late afternoon was turning to evening and a balmy breeze was a welcome relief from the moderate heat of the day. Multiple food suppliers were available, but the longest lines were at the Coopers beer tents. Mum bought a bottle of wine and asked for two glasses. I had a soft drink so I can only think she was trying to appear less of a lush. I don’t think anyone was fooled.
We found our spots and realised there wouldn’t be a lot of space for dancing. A mosh pit with seating.
Then the moment we had been waiting for, the stage filled with the band and the star attractions. Our seats were great, not so close as to see the beads of sweat but near enough to see them raise their arms to wipe them away.
The music started and we were immediately swept up in it’s soaring notes. Mum and I grasped hands and just looked at each other, “Paul Simon” we squealed, total fan girls.
The play list was extensive and spanned from the earliest dates in each artists songbooks. There were duets and solos and musicians galore. There was careful design to the order of the music. Rollicking hits that had everyone on there feet were followed by mellower tunes that had people swaying in their chairs. This was especially considerent given the mean age ofthe attendees and the fact that concert ran to nearly three hours.
It was revealed that it was essentially two full bands on stage. Many of the musicians were multi instrumentalists and the many solos were captivating in their own rights. Three drumsets, a brass section, strings, a harpischord, a keybard. At one point there was a piano accordion, ukulele, washboard and I think even a kazoo. In one song! The back up singer was a local girl and was magnificent. She also looked exactly like Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory.
I couldn’t get over how great Sting and Paul Simon sounded. No discernable deterioration in quality from their recordings, as far as my untutored ears could tell. Sting’s voice has a gravelly sexiness but of his playlist I found his Police anthems most entertaining. The songs from his solo career are a little dreary. Paul Simon is mesmerizing. At one point during his set I actually forgot Sting was there too and got a surprise when he walked back on stage.
The penultimate song was the Simon and Garfunkel classic, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Mum and I stood arm in arm, singing along, as did the entire audience. I had goosebumps.
Although it has been about fifteen years since I last saw a live act and my memory might be a bit hazy, last night was one of the best nights of my music appreciating life.
Sting & Paul Simon
Brand New Day (from Brand New Day, 1999)
Boy In The Bubble (from Graceland, 1986)
Fields Of Gold (from Ten Summoners Tales, 1992)
So Lonely (from Outlandos D’Amour, 1978)
When The World Is Running Down (from Zenyatta Mondatta, 1980)
Seven Days (from Ten Summoners Tales, 1992)
Driven To Tears (from Zenyatta Mondatta, 1980)
Walking On The Moon (from Regatta D’Blanc, 1979)
Paul Simon & Sting
Mother and Child Reunion (from Paul Simon, 1972)
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (from Still Crazy After All These Years, 1975)
Dazzling Blue (from So Beautiful Or So What, 2011)
Graceland (from Graceland, 1986)
Pretty Thing (Bo Diddly cover)
Still Crazy After All These Years (from Still Crazy After All These Years, 1975)
Me And Julio Down By The School Yard (from Paul Simon, 1972)
Sting and Paul Simon
Fragile (from Nothing Like The Sun, 1987)
America (from Bookends, 1968)
Message In A Bottle (from Regatta D’Blanc, 1979)
The Hounds Of Winter (from Mercury Falling, 1996)
The End Of The Game (from Brand New Day)
Roxanne (from Outlandos D’Amour, 1978)
Desert Rose (from Brand New Day, 1999)
Paul Simon and Sting
The Boxer (from Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
That Was Your Mother (from Graceland, 1986)
The Cool Cool River (from The Rhythm of the Saints, 1990)
Hearts and Bones (from Hearts and Bones, 1983)
Mystery Train/Wheels (Junior Parker/The String A Longs covers)
Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes (from Graceland, 1986)
You Can Call Me Al (from Graceland, 1986)
Sting and Paul Simon
Cecilia (from Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
Every Breath You Take (from Synchronicity, 1983)
Bridge Over Troubled Water (from Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
When Will I Be Loved (Everly Brothers cover)