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LIVE: Paul Simon

*this is art from one of the t-shirts sold at the merch table, designed by the artist Raghava

I was beyond excited to see such a legendary performer live in concert and I was not disappointed one bit. Paul Simon took the stage last night at the GORGEOUS Wang Theatre along with 8 other ridiculously talented musicians** and the show was everything I could’ve hoped for. He performed his new material and mixed in MANY of his classic tunes all with an energy that went up and down and back again. I laughed, I cried, and I won’t soon forget it.

I was delighted to hear tracks from So Beautiful Or So What, and even more thrilled that they really shined in that live setting. Early in the show was my favorite – the romantic and percussive “Dazzling Blue”.  He also played “The Afterlife”, the title track, “So Beautiful Or So What”, “Questions For the Angels”, and probably the most well received – “Rewrite”.

Now, as I mention just the other songs I remember, you’ll likely get a feeling for how FUN this show was! We were treated to “That Was Your Mother”, “Hearts and Bones”, “Diamonds On the Soles Of Her Shoes”, “Slip Slidin’ Away”, “Late In the Evening”, “Still Crazy After All These Years”, “Kodachrome”, “The Boy In The Bubble”, “Only Living Boy In New York”, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”, and a cover of “Here Comes the Sun” (among others!). The song that brought tears to my eyes was his solo acoustic rendition of “The Sound Of Silence”.

Get the idea???

I guess it’s not hard for a musician with a catalogue like Simon’s to put on an enjoyable show…but it was more than the songs. The band was extremely tight, with almost every member contributing parts on several different instruments depending on the song. The lights and backdrops were just enough; not distracting – making it feel like a concert but not some wild show. And Paul Simon himself was simply a DELIGHT to watch. His stage presence, his mannerisms, his guitar work, and above all his VOICE impressed me so much. I knew it would be a good show, but I was really amazed at the caliber of performance from this nearly 70-year-old artist.

**THE BAND: Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini, drummer Jim Oblon, pianist Mick Rossi, saxophonist/keyboardist Andrew Snitzer, bassist Bakithi Kumalo, guitarist Mark Stewart, master percussionist Jamey Haddad and multi-instrumentalist Tony Cedras

Paul Simon

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LIVE: Fleet Foxes

Tuesday night, I found myself at the Orpheum in Boston with my father by my side. The two of us were shaking our heads and staring at the stage in disbelief…not of what we were seeing, but of what we were hearing. I’ve been listening to Helplessness Blues, the new album from Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, nonstop these days. I’ve talked to many who find it to contain some of the most beautiful music they’ve heard in years, but also to others who feel that the recording’s vocal effects leave them unimpressed. For those who aren’t quite sold on the sound of this band’s recorded material, I think seeing them perform live just once would make them a believer.

The vocal harmonies and lush instrumentation coming from the stage that night were mind-blowing. And I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The crowd went CRAZY between each and every song. Lead singer Robin Pecknold would humbly mumble, “Wow you guys, thank you…thank you so much” to quiet us down.

It was really a miracle I made it to the show, after my flight into Boston was delayed for three hours! Despite arriving late, I got the chance to hear some of my favorite tracks off the new record – “Lorelai”, “Montezuma”, “The Shrine/An Argument” and of course, title track “Helplessness Blues”. One of the highlights of the show for me was Pecknold’s soaring vocals on “Oliver James”. Sadly I’ve gathered that I missed “White Winter Hymnal”, “Mykonos”, “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” and my favorite tune from Helplessness Blues – “Bedouin Dress”. But I was just thrilled to have experienced the beauty of this music at such a small venue…I have a sneaking suspicion that Fleet Foxes will be playing much bigger rooms very soon…

Fleet Foxes

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