Archive

ShareThis Page
Paul Simon wraps up farewell tour back home | TribLIVE.com
Music

Paul Simon wraps up farewell tour back home

The Associated Press
| Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:45 a.m.
26438326438331d8beb4690d47ffaf26f75e17772ee8
FILE - In a Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, musician Paul Simon performs during the Global Citizen Festival, in New York. Simon wraps up his farewell concert tour Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at a park in Queens, a bicycle ride across the borough from where he grew up. The 76-year-old singer picked Flushing Meadows Corona Park to say goodbye, an outdoor show on the first night of autumn. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

NEW YORK — Paul Simon ended his final concert tour under a moonlit sky on home turf Saturday, telling an audience in a Queens, N.Y. park that their cheers “mean more than you can know.”

Simon performed at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which he said was a 20-minute bicycle ride from where he grew up, ending the landmark night with his first big hit, “The Sound of Silence.”

The 76-year-old Simon isn’t retiring, and hasn’t ruled out occasional future performances. But he’s said this is his last time out on the road, and he isn’t alone among his peers; Elton John and Kiss are also doing goodbye swings.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio introduced Simon, calling him “one of the greatest New York City artists of all time.” The return to New York raised memories of Simon’s two iconic shows in Manhattan’s Central Park, in 1981 with former partner Art Garfunkel and in 1991 on his own.

Simon didn’t directly address the special nature of this occasion, and his only guest was wife Edie Brickell, who came out to whistle the solo in “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.” But there were many references to familiar surroundings, like when he paused and beamed at an airplane descending over the park as he prepared to sing “Homeward Bound.”

“Welcome to New York,” he said.

When Simon finished singing “Kodachrome,” with its memorable line about “the crap I learned in high school,” he said, “take that, Forest Hills High School.”

But, he conceded, “I actually had a good time there.”

The crowd cheered when Simon sang about the “queen of Corona” in “Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard.”

“How much fun is it to sing a song about Corona in Corona?” he said.

The former high school baseball player brought out a glove and a ball, saying he wanted to play catch. He twice threw the ball into the audience and the return throws sailed over his head. But on the third, Simon caught a perfect strike.

His 26-song set spanned more than 50 years. A staple of the 1960s folk-rock scene with Garfunkel, Simon explored music from around the world as a solo artist. His band contained guitarists from Nigeria and South Africa, and a classical sextet. His recent work has been his most musically challenging, and in a new disc he revisits overlooked songs from the past four decades. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member for both stages of his career.

The only references to Garfunkel were a couple of fleeting pictures during a nostalgic montage on the video screen. As Simon prepared to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” he said that “I’m going to reclaim my lost child.” He had originally given the giant hit to Garfunkel to sing.

An often dour performer, Simon has been animated and talkative during the final shows. He seems eager for the freedom that awaits him, said Robert Hilburn, who wrote the biography “Paul Simon: A Life” that was released this spring.

“The thing that strikes me is that he’s been happy, relieved,” Hilburn said. “There’s a burden off of him.”

During an earlier show in Portland, Oregon, Simon playfully “penalized” himself for flubbing the lyrics to one song by singing an old Simon & Garfunkel hit he confessed to hating: “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.