The theme of this past week: epic, once-in-a-lifetime shows at the Greek Theater by legendary American singer-songwriters.
FIRST INSTALLMENT: PAUL SIMON
It’s very appropriate that my first concert at the Greek would be Paul Simon (one of my very favorite musicians ever) with Alex and Lauren (two of my very favorite people ever). And fortunately for us, the weather was gorgeous. We made the most out of
a toaster our lawn seats, complete with picnic supplies, blankets, and bare feet.
It was the same day that Stranger to Stranger came out, and in celebration, everyone received a cool lanyard and free download of the album at the entrance. The fact that the show lined up with the album release already made the day pretty significant in my eyes, but on top of that, we also got a few more noteworthy surprises. Like when Warriors coach Steve Kerr graced the crowd with his presence halfway through “That Was Your Mother,” and everyone went INSANE. (For the record, I couldn’t have cared less and was actually kind of annoyed that the band had to wait for the cheering and chanting to die down before continuing.) Luckily Paul’s a pretty big bball fan, and cracked a joke about walking onto the court next time Curry sets up for a 3 pointer. Speaking of which, whyyyy doesn’t this video exist on the internet anymore??
The other unexpected occurrence came during the second (of three) encores, when Paul paused before the last verse of “The Boxer” to solemnly announce Muhammad Ali’s death. I was super confused at first, thinking that his timing couldn’t possibly be that impeccable (and honestly, hadn’t even been aware that Muhammad Ali was still around…awful, I know). But it was around 10pm and news had just broken of his passing. We literally all heard it from Paul Simon first. There’s a video of it here.
And on that note, the night ended with a great big singalong of “The Sound of Silence,” along with some pro boxing moves from PS before exiting the stage. The whole thing was pretty incredible.
This was my fourth time seeing PS live, and I must say, setlist- and atmosphere-wise, this show definitely takes the cake. Not only did he play several songs from The Rhythm of the Saints, each one came with a story! I feel like we were pretty lucky he was in a storytelling mood…at previous shows, the most he’d impart before a song was like 10 words. Maybe in general he’s just got more to say this tour. Songs included “Proof,” “The Obvious Child” (yaaassss), “Spirit Voices,” and “The Cool, Cool River” (this part gives me chills every time; it is SO GOOD live).
I was also reminded how much I love “Rewrite” and “Dazzling Blue” from So Beautiful Or So What, and as always, impressed with the freshness of Paul’s newest stuff (Stranger to Stranger is wonderful). Of course, he played plenty of old hits too, and even a good amount of S&G songs. I’m including the setlist.fm link so I can come back later and relive it. :P
Not sure why it’s always this song that gives me the feels, but during “Still Crazy After All These Years,” I kept thinking how awesome it was to be at the Greek, such a historic Bay Area venue, and how if I closed my eyes, I could almost magically transport myself back in time to 1975, to a time when all of our parents were seeing artists like Paul Simon at the very same venue. I have a lot more to say about the Greek, but more on that in the next post.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: BOB DYLAN