Paul Simon Brings A Joyful Noise To St. Louis

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Paul Simon at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis, 06/12/16

My top five favorite concerts are all act that have been around for several decades: Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, John Fogerty, Rush, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and now Paul Simon. I will let you draw whatever conclusions you will from that with regards to the staying power—or presumable lack thereof, of many contemporary pop acts. These acts are all Hall of Famers for a multitude of reasons, be it musicianship, songwriting, the ability to connect to a wide audience of diverse demographics, and more. On a hot humid Sunday evening at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Paul Simon demonstrated that fantastic music is absolutely timeless.

The Fox had a pretty full house from my vantage point when the seventy-four year old legend took the stage, backed by his excellent band of multi-instrumentalists. He was a couple of minutes later than the scheduled start time because he wanted to try to catch his wife Edie Brickell on the Tony Awards. She was nominated for Best Score along with actor/comedian/bluegrass star Steve Martin for their musical BRIGHT STAR. Who can blame a proud husband for wanting to see his wife win the biggest award in a given industry? Certainly not his fans in St. Louis, who greeted Paul with an enthusiastic standing ovation when he arrived on stage. Within moments the audience realized they were in the presence of rock and roll immortality—Simon’s voice still rings out with that somewhat sad, somewhat hopeful tenor he’s become known for since his early partnership with Art Garfunkel.

With charm, humor and style, the veteran entertainer took the audience on a musical journey, weaving Simon and Garfunkel classics with solo Simon hits and a few tracks from his newest CD, STRANGER TO STRANGER, which resonated with me immediately. It’s always interesting to see what influences an artist today who was influential himself as far back as the days of the British Invasion and Woodstock. For his newest release, Paul is clearly living in the here and now, poking fun at the everyday hassles of being blocked from the stage by a steadfast guard in “Wristband,” taking a sideways glance at the modern experience in “The Werewolf,” and the title track, which instantly sounded like a song Sting wishes he’d wrote.

The Paul Simon concert of June 12, 2016 featured timeless music, ageless talent, an historical venue, and a few thousand people in one place who loved the experience as one. It was a celebration of hope in a world that is sadly in increasingly short supply of it. It really shouldn’t be that hard to be better people. Paul has explored various cultures around the world and found something to celebrate in each. Why should the rest of us do any less?

I’m not 100% positive on the set list because the Internet has “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” cited and I disagree—I know I heard “I Know What I Know” during the show. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Main Set:

Proof

The Boy in the Bubble

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

That Was Your Mother

Rewrite

Kansas City

Dazzling Blue

Slip Slidin' Away

Mother and Child Reunion

Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Spirit Voices

The Obvious Child

Stranger to Stranger

Homeward Bound

I Know What I Know

Duncan

The Werewolf

The Cool, Cool River

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

You Can Call Me Al

Encore 1:

Wristband

Late in the Evening

Still Crazy After All These Years

Encore 2:

Gumboots

The Boxer

The Sound of Silence

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0