Copyright Columbia Records
On April 12th 2015, me and my husband (I can’t say my husband and I, or I would sound like the queen) left our home in Cornwall and set off ‘up country’.
When we first moved here nearly two years ago I’d never really heard that term that folk here used, but when you think about it, to Cornwall, every other place is up country isn’t it? Anyway, I digress. We set off in the morning for the four hour or so trip to Birmingham. And why did we do this? To see for the third time, the greatest poet of our time, yes, the legend that is Paul Simon.
Paul Simon in 1966
By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 919-3036 (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Just in case anyone has never heard of him - unlikely unless they come from Mars - he was part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel who brought us songs such as, Bridge over Troubled Water, Mrs Robinson, The Boxer, Homeward Bound and The Sound of Silence to name just a few. They split after many years, but since then Mr Simon has gone from strength-to-strength with such greats as Graceland, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, You can Call Me Al, the list is endless, well, almost.
Paul Simon on stage last week - sorry it’s a bit blurry!
We first saw him in Sheffield in 1991 for his Born at the Right Time tour and then in Birmingham in 2006,I think it was for his Surprise tour. So you can imagine how excited we were to see him again, but this time with an added bonus – Sting would be on stage with him too! I have always liked Sting, but did wonder how the two musicians would work together as they are quite different.
The whole thing was such an occasion driving up, checking into the hotel which was only a short walk from the Genting Arena and settling in our seats with a glass of wine. The excitement in the arena was palpable and then the lights went down and on they came and the arena went wild! We spent most of the three hours on our feet mostly because we were dancing along to the music, but there wasn’t a lot of choice as everyone in front of us were going crazy and we couldn’t see a thing otherwise. One or two of my friends had said that I shouldn’t get too hopeful as Mr Simon was 74 now, and Sting 63. My goodness, they couldn’t have been more wrong!
The two of them complimented each other perfectly and they did songs together and songs alone. Sting had the whole arena rocking with Roxanne, Walking on the Moon, Message in a Bottle and swaying to Fields of Gold. Paul Simon did all of our favourites mentioned above and then to the crowd’s delight a beautiful rendition of The Sound of Silence. Here is a clip of him performing this on the night on YouTube, a little blurred but you can hear him clearly.
And then both of them performed Bridge over Troubled Water and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Here they are again from YouTube.
Three hours of unbelievably good music that made us laugh cry and whoop for joy. Sting was quite brilliant, but Paul Simon, though small in stature was a giant. There are so many memories woven through the depth and breadth of his music, and standing in that crowd we knew we were in the presence of greatness.