I don’t get up to Auckland all that often for gigs. I’d like to. There are a lot of good gigs that come to New Zealand, but only play Auckland: one show only. And it’s the obvious place for one-show-only tours. It has the population.
I get to Auckland once a year for a gig. If that.
But I wasn’t going to miss Paul Simon.
(And I didn’t).
It was, as I hoped, a super-great show. I’m a fan – obviously (I travelled from Wellington to Auckland overnight for the gig; took time off work and, then given I stayed up after the show writing a review for my website, you could also argue that I created more work for myself…) But what a show. What a band.
I’m always a bit intrigued by people who say they don’t like Paul Simon; they find his music boring or obvious. They just haven’t done the listening. I guess the same can be said for any artist who cops this sort of carry-on, particularly when they have a decent whack of catalogue behind them. And some may wish to argue that there’s no reason to listen on if the small amount you’ve heard tells you what you need to know; tells you that it’s not for you.
There is a difference of course between an opinion and an informed opinion.
There are so many reasons to listen to Paul Simon’s music. His music contains multitudes.
I had to come and see Paul Simon; had to travel for it. You see a few years back I came up to Auckland to see Simon & Garfunkel. It was fine enough, a good show, lovely to see. Some nice nostalgia – but I was at the gig because of Paul Simon. And the gig really came alive – went to a whole new level – when Paul Simon brought on some key members of his regular touring band, gave Artie a break and played a mini-set of solo songs.
I’d seen Art Garfunkel solo – and that was good too (he had an incredible band, including the guy who composed the soundtrack to Deliverance). But Paul Simon is the guy I care about most in that duo. Art had his moments, but Paul was the talent.
I’d always wanted to see Paul Simon live – I’ve been a fan since…well, the first thing I remember is lying in my bed listening to Paul Simon. I couldn’t’ve been no more than one or two…
But he played a two hour show, two dozen songs. And I made the journey. To take in Paul Simon’s journey of song – and I’m glad I did. It was an amazing show, an incredible band, easily in the list of top shows I’ve ever seen.
Funny that so many people went on about Rodriguez being 70. As if that is some defence. Paul Simon is 70. He never thought to mention it. He just sung his songs in the same way he always has.
Rufus Wainwright opened the show. And he was great. I’d seen him before but he’s worth seeing live. His voice is breathtaking. And it was a special treat to see him join Paul Simon on stage to sing The Boxer together. It’s during moments like those that you are grateful for making it to the show that required you to travel. You don’t worry about where the money is coming from to cover it. You’re there. And you’re pleased you’re there. It will all work out. You’ll find a way to get by. You wouldn’t have found any other way to see this. To actually see it; to be there for it.
I knew I’d see a great show. Well, I hoped I would at least. But I had a good feeling about it.
I didn’t know I’d see a show that good.
It sometimes feels “important” to catch these heroes live – more so in the last couple of years don’t you reckon…?
This started as a series on the Phantom Billstickers Facebook Page