Paul Simon: @Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham 12/10/2016


Garry ticks one off the bucketlist

Tonight was one of those definite ‘Bucket List’ moments…..I’ve been a fan of Paul Simon’s music since the very early 80s but alas through one reason or another I’ve never seen the man live in concert…..November 12th 2016 was the date that would be put right.
The reports of Mr Simon’s UK gigs on this tour were outstanding and this show certainly didn’t disappoint…..the wonderful collection of musicians in Paul Simon’s band entered the stage at 8.15pm and burst straight into the Cajun foot stomper ‘Gumboots’……we instantly knew we were in for a musical treat, these were guys at the very top of their craft…..then the star of the show wandered onto stage to an almighty roar and lead the band into the brilliant ‘The Boy In The Bubble’ and the classic ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’……wow….what a start!!!!
This evening was an amazing mix of Paul Simon classics, new material from his recent ‘Stranger To Stranger’ album, older album tracks and Simon & Garfunkel timeless gems…..what more could you need?, it was like the best mix tape you could put together… was a few songs into the set before Mr Simon addressed the packed crowd in Nottingham…..he seemed in real good form and treated us to a few anecdotes throughout the show……a strange tale from the Amazon jungle about a fictional snake coming through the window whilst under the influence of a curious potion raised a smile or two I must say.
To hear tracks like ‘Mother & Child Reunion’, ‘Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard’, ‘The Obvious Child’, ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘America’ & ‘You Can Call Me Al’ after decades of listening to them on Cassette, Vinyl & CD in the live arena truly was a dream come true…..the thing that was difficult to get my head round though was that the guy I was watching was a spritely 75 years old…..and seems to have found a whole new lease of life….no one would complain if Paul Simon had come on stage and played a 90 mins show…..but to clock in two and a half hours a night throughout this tour shows that he’s having a blast.
We were treated to not one, not two but three encores…..some folk foolishly left after the main set ended……that comes under the heading of serious ‘Schoolboy Error’……we were treated to brand new song ‘Wristband’ which feels like it could have been in the setlist for years rather than a few months, then we had ‘Graceland’ and the sublime ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ before encore two started with my personal fave ‘Late In The Evening’ which was followed by ‘One Man’s Ceiling’ and the Simon & Garfunkel singalong classic ‘The Boxer’…..the Li Li Li’s rang out long and loud as the song finished and the band trooped off after one of the best shows I’ve seen all year…..and that count is creeping towards three figure mark…..and we still have a few weeks left of 2016.
Paul Simon then returned on his own for a solo rendition of his 1973 track ‘American Tune’ before taking a well deserved ear shattering standing ovation…..I had waited a long long time to see the legend that is Paul Simon and my word it was worth it ten times over, will he tour again?…..who knows…..but I know one thing for sure, if he does my credit card will be put to good use once more…….Paul Simon is a nailed on legend with a back catalogue to die for and his performance tonight in Nottingham was a real masterclass!!!!
Garry Foster
Unchained: Tuesday’s 10pm-Midnight
Prog Rock Files: Thursday’s 10pm-Midnight
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