Time it was and what a time it was. Paul Simon played two concerts to commemorate the grand reopening of the Beacon Theater. Art Garfunkel showed up the first night for a surprise reunion. I’m still furious that I went the second night instead. You know how sometimes you get mad at yourself for not doing something you didn’t know you should have done in the first place? That was me all weekend.
The last time I saw Paul Simon in concert was during his Graceland tour. I was about 13. It was me, two friends, and a parent. Our seats were really far up and we couldn’t see much, so we spent half the time trying to get backstage. Not that we even remotely knew where to go. Around that time, my obsession with Paul was at its strongest. I played Graceland so many times my cassette tape practically combusted. I have many Paul Simon CDs now, but not Graceland. I feel like every song is burned into my brain and I can play it there any time I want. At this concert, Paul did a lot of songs from Graceland. I still knew every word over 20 years later, even though I hadn’t heard most of those songs since then. Memory is a fascinating thing. I remember every lyric of every song, but I can’t remember most of high school or college. Fascinating.
I like Paul’s 70s music (plus or minus two years) the best. He just had this sound with Hearts and Bones and One-Trick Pony that is transcendental. So when he played “Train in the Distance” and “The Only Living Boy in New York,” I really thought I would have an emotional meltdown. “The Boxer” was also intense. Paul is extremely graceful. I was in a total trance, watching him bend and sway with the music. Every move he makes is so fluid. He uses lots of elaborate hand gestures. He is pure rock star.