I’m not the biggest Paul Simon fan in the world. By that, I don’t mean that I don’t really like him, but that I am not familiar with all his music, and still have a lot of his back catalogue to explore. But when he announced a gig in Vicar Street ahead of his gig in Cork, I knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see him in such an intimate venue. Thanks to a mate managing to get tickets, and another offering to watch O J while I was at the gig and then let us stay with them, I saw one of the most amazing gigs ever on Monday night.
The Vicar Street staff were very helpful, since two of us are blind and one was visually impaired, so not a decent eye between us 😀
They brought us down a corridor and we had no idea where we were going since it was away from the direction of the crowd. The man told us that it would be easier to get out at the end this way, but in fact we ended up getting seats at the wheelchair section, right in the front rows! I was two steps away from the stage. Although I didn’t have a proper seat and it wasn’t very comfortable, the sound was fantastic and in my opinion I had the best seat in the place! We were so close that even the lights hurt my eyes they were so bright. That’s saying something, because my light perception is rubbish!
I really didn’t know what to expect from Paul Simon’s performance. I had only heard the new album ‘so beautiful or so what’ once the day before, and thought since he was touring it, I wouldn’t be too familiar with the new songs. He played a great combination of hits as well as new material, which blended in perfectly, with a few cover versions too. For a man of almost seventy years old, he is acceptional. His voice is perfect and he sounds so young. He doesn’t talk much but was polite and gracious, and seemed happy to be playing in what he called “a club.” It all just seems so effortless. Performers like him could teach many of today’s generation of bands a thing or two, because it seems nowadays, you are only respected and cool enough if you spend the majority of your performance shouting all the curses you can think of. God, I’m starting to sound like my dad, but you know he’s right a lot of the time, but I’ll never tell him that of course!
Anyway… back to the gig…
Simon’s band of eight musicians are also amazing. I’d love to have seen the stage, because there must have been a large amount of instruments up there. The audience were fantastic, interacting when appropriate and being completely silent at other times. The band even played a couple of songs suggested by the audience. They might have already been on the set list but it was still nice to hear an audience member politely ask, and the band play it straight away.
I left the gig feeling that I was incredibly lucky to have been there, to have seen a musician who has been playing music for so long, and still clearly enjoying his job. During the gig I couldn’t help thinking of Clarence Clemence, who unfortunately and tragically passed away last Saturday. He had a similarly long career, and watching him perform twice was a unique experience. His death was a reminder that musicians of this quality aren’t going to be around forever. Often gig tickets are rediculously expensive and difficult to afford, but if you have the opportunity, seeing a performance from somebody with such “legendary” status (for want of a better word), is definitely worth the extra pounds.
1. The Boy in the Bubble
2. Dazzling Blue
3. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
4. So Beautiful or So What
6. Mother and Child Reunion
7. That Was Your Mother
8. Hearts and Bones
9. Mystery Train
11. Slip Slidin’ Away
13. Peace Like a River
14. The Obvious Child
15. The Only Living Boy in New York
16. The Afterlife
17. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
19. The Sound of Silence
21. Gone at Last
22. Here Comes the Sun
23. Crazy Love, Vol. II
24. Late in the Evening
25. Still Crazy After All These Years