By Will Brown
Artist: Paul Simon
Date / Venue: Monday April 9th, Vector Arena, Auckland
Paul Simon played a stella show last night at the Vector Arena in Auckland. It had been four years since Simon last performed in New Zealand - and back then he was joined by his partner in crime Art Garfunkel. This time the singer was performing mostly his own solo material, with a couple of Simon & Garfunkel tunes and even a Beatles cover thrown in.
Rufus Wainwright opened the show and did an extraordinary job, managing to grab the attention of those in the audience that perhaps had never heard the man's music. Without a backing band, Wainwright performed with the aid of his guitar and piano, setting the scene nicely for the main attraction.
Paul Simon started off with a bang, performing Gumboots from his 1986 landmark album Graceland and followed up with Dazzling Blue from his latest album So Beautiful Or So What. Simon encouraged the fans in attendance to get up and dance, which many did - heading out into the aisles of the lower floor at the Vector Arena. Probably not a silly idea as they were soon rewarded with unmistakeable drumbeat from 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.
Backed by his fantastic eight-piece band, they all managed to have time to shine. Simon wrapped up the set with Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes and Late In The Evening, before quickly returning to the stage for his well-deserved encore. Although the encore was expected, not many were expecting the amount of songs his encore would entail!
He started with the classic Simon and Garfunkel track The Sound Of Silence, a very nice version of The Beatles hit Here Comes The Sun, and delighted the crowd with You Can Call Me Al, complete with the slap bass interludes which went down a treat.
Rufus Wainwright joined Paul Simon on stage as they sang together with the S&G hit The Boxer, with Wainwright doing a fine job indeed.
Finishing off the nine song encore was Still Crazy After All These Years (which featured a fantastic sax solo) and completed the set with The Boy In The Bubble.
What a night, and a complete party was had by all at the near sell out crowd in Auckland. At 70 years old we can only hope that Paul Simon will once again visit our shores in the next few years. The guy has undoubtedly still got and proved last night why he is still one of the greats in this industry.
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
That Was Your Mother
Hearts & Bones
Slip Slidin' Away
My Little Town
The Obvious Child
The Only Living Boy In New York
Crazy Love Vol. II
So Beautiful, So What
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Late In The Evening
The Sounds Of Silence
Kodachrome/Gone At Last
Here Comes The Sun (Beatles cover)
You Can Call Me Al
Pretty Thing (Bo Diddley cover)
Still Crazy After All These Years
The Boy In The Bubble