Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Still Crazy

Crazy good, that is. Ageless. Voice the same as it was 30 years ago in a famous concert in Central Park with Art Garfunkel. Last night was the final stop on Paul Simon’s latest tour, “So Beautiful or So What,” the name of his new album. On this tour he selected venues that were smaller, that would be better suited for a more intimate song playlist. The Hard Rock in Hollywood at about 5,000 seats was perfect, and Simon did a two-hour concert to a sold-out house that was on its feet and singing for the last 45  minutes. Simon interspersed songs from “So Beautiful or So What” with longtime favorites like “Boy in the Bubble,” “Kodachrome,” “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Slip Sliding Away” and more.  He describes his new album as based less on his longtime “rhythmic” Graceland approach, and more on his craft as a songwriter; it did not disappoint, especially the flat-out beautiful “Dazzling Blue.” (For more on the making on the album, visit http://www.paulsimon.com/us/video/paul-simon-making-so-beautiful-or-so-what).

It’s easy to wax nostalgic when bands from the sixties and seventies pop up on a concert tour, their hair gray, playing to a gray-haired audience swaying to Woodstock songs, awash in the past.

But Paul Simon is different. His work has evolved, decade by decade. He is a storyteller; his narrative is relevant and alive and his grasp of world music has been brilliant. Yes, his time was then but it is also now; how often can you say that? When he plays a simple version of George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” or a song off his new album, all I could see was the present-day artist, the sly and playful lyrics, the chronicler of our times.

The only living boy in New York City may have become the only living legend.

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