Friday, July 8, 2016

Paul Simon's Last Show in Forest Hills?!

Fun fact- Paul Simon is a fellow Brandeis alum as he got an honorary degree in music in 2010. He honored his fellow “classmates” with a rendition of Boxer.

Lots of people on their phones during Rain Delay..
 If its it was Dead and Company show, people
would be signing,dancing and Not Fade Away Clapping! 
 On Friday, July 1st he played the last show of his 2016 “Stranger to Stranger” tour at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY.  The show the night before (Beatles reference alert!) sold out so they added this show. At 7:30 PM, the show was supposed to start; however as Bob Weir would have said, “It[ looked] like rain.” Finally at 8:56 PM my first Paul Simon show began with Proof into Boy in the Bubble.

Like Sir Paul McCartney, Simon still wows audiences of ages ranging from kids to senior citizens. To the contrary to fellow Paul, Simon continues to produce top-of-the line albums. Sir Paul has continued to release new albums in recent years but his latest one “Kisses from the Bottom” does not live up to the expectations of his Beatles and Wings hits. 

Not knowing Simons’ catalogue, I wasn’t actually 100% which songs were old and which ones were new! One of my two favorite new songs was the upbeat “Werewolf”; I could not help but flashbacks of Dead and Company’s “Werewolfs of London” encore on Halloween last year.  A woman behind me laughed when she heard me exclaim “Ooooh…. Werewolfs of London” midway through the song. The other was “Wristband”, which got everyone up and dancing towards the end of the set.  
Of course the show did feature a lot of greatest hits as well. “Slip Slidin’ Away” was very appropriate given the rain.  The first dance party of the night took place during “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”. Lots of chuckling occurred when Simon shouted “ Queen of Corona”! Homeward Bound couldn’t have been more meta; after all Simon chose to wear a Queens t-shirt.
The band’s worldy rhythm (up to 5 percussionists at a time!) was featured in El Condor Pasa. However, it would have been nice if Paul could have added in some vocals; the lyrics of that song are beautiful: “I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail; yes I would, If I only could, I surely would.”  

The set ended with “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” followed by “You Can Call me Al.” It magically started heavily raining so people wouldn’t sit on the soaked benches and got up to dance.
Most bands will come out for a song or two as an encore; however, not several as Paul Simon generally does. My mind started jogging when he sung “Still Crazy After All These Years” as I started to think about other songs that actually gained more meaning several decades after they were written:

-When I’m Sixty Four: “Will you still love me, will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m Sixty-Four?”
-Truckin’: “Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been”
-Midnight Rider: “The road goes on forever.”

Paul Simon begun the encore with an upbeat cover of Elvis Presley’s “That’s Alright Mama.”

The highlight of the encore was a rare live version of “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Although Simon wrote the song, Art Garfunkel generally sung it.
Paul Simon made up for the rough start by playing way past the venue’s 10:00 PM curfew until 11:10. As many people left before and after show began, a lot of spots opened up so my dad and I were able to get to the second row for the encore to take some nice videos.

It’s crazy after all these years that this very well might have been Paul’s last show in his hometown. We’ll see if rumors are true or not. 

This cool poster was all over the place in Queens;
very true statement about the borough! 

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