Paul Simon and Sting at The Forum — Review


Combined concerts always confuse me, especially when the two leads expose each other’s limitations rather than add to their strengths. Though Sting and Paul Simon are formidable titans in their own right, their attempt to align had some small issues. Simon’s sweet tone gets swallowed by Sting’s powerhouse voice, and Sting’s inability to achieve Simon’s vulnerable, quiet conviction leaves him exposed.

The duo began the show with a brief introduction into their attempt, with Simon telling the audience that by the end of the tour, he hoped to “have the body of an Adonis,” and to have sex for “hours on end.” Sting’s audience interaction was less jovial, with the mysterious music man confessing his humble respect for Simon shortly after Simon exited the stage, along with his rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘America.’ Unfortunately, that was extent of their audience engagement.

While I might have picked someone like James Taylor to be Simon’s touring partner, there’s a few easy fixes that might make this a more cohesive collaboration, rather than what felt like a competitive showdown of living legends. First, because Paul Simon and Sting are simply unable to effectively harmonize together, they should exchange verses in each other’s songs and severely limit the harmonies. This tactic was more widely used in the second half of the show, which made it exponentially better than the first. Second, if each artist is going to sing each other’s song, then the arrangement should be changed to accommodate their individual vocal style. Sure the audience expects the original, but there’s plenty of picks in their solo set to fulfill that expectation. It was; however, extremely interesting to see Sting sing, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ given its intense vulnerability and the simple fact that it’s an Art Garfunkel vocal staple. I desperately want to ask Sting if he felt tremendously challenged by the idea of taking a different approach to his larger-than-life style. It was certainly an exercise in restraint. Lastly, the live mix had problems. While Sting’s voice can be easily heard among his band, Simon’s cannot. This can be easily rectified, but it’s something that should be taken into consideration with two vastly different voices.

Despite these aforementioned issues, this show is certainly worth seeing. Absent some collaborative conundrums, the thirty plus song set gives you two for the price of one, with Simon singing his legendary staples, including, ‘Graceland,’ ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,’ ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,’ and many more. As for Sting, he tore the house down with ‘Message in a Bottle,’ ‘Roxanne,’ and ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.’ It’s not often that two of the world’s most iconic artists share a stage, so take advantage of the momentous milestone in history and purchase your ticket. For more information visit, Sting’s website, Paul Simon’s website, or their tour website.

North American Tour Itinerary 2014

Feb. 16             Anaheim, CA               Honda Center

Feb. 17              San Jose, CA               SAP Center at San Jose

Feb. 19              Seattle, WA                  KeyArena

Feb. 20              Vancouver, BC             Rogers Arena

Feb. 23              St. Paul, MN                 Xcel Energy Center

Feb. 25              Chicago, IL                   United Center

Feb. 26              Detroit, MI                    The Palace of Auburn Hills

Feb. 28              Montreal, QC                Bell Centre

Mar. 01             Toronto, ON                 Air Canada Centre

Mar. 03              Boston, MA                   TD Garden

Mar. 04              New York City, NY        Madison Square Garden

Mar. 06              New York, City, NY       Madison Square Garden

Mar. 07              Philadelphia, PA            Wells Fargo Center

Mar. 09              Hershey, PA                 Giant Center

Mar. 13              Washington, DC           Verizon Center

Mar. 15              Ft. Lauderdale, FL         BB&T Center

Mar. 16              Orlando, FL                  Amway Center

Vintage Quote of the Day — Who is Paul Simon’s “Silver Girl”?

“The last verse, it was about Peggy [Simon’s girlfriend, later to become his wife], whom I was living with at the time: ‘Sail on, silver girl/Sail on by/Your time has come to shine’ was half a joke, because she was upset one day when she had found two or three gray hairs on her head.” Paul Simon, on the meaning behind his lyric to “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Paul Simon’s New Album — ‘So Beautiful or So What’ — Incredible

Despite being The Dishmaster, there are times I think I’m living under a rock. I’m constantly in search of new bands to write about, and I lose sight of the reliable legends.  One such legend is Paul Simon, who released his new album, So Beautiful or So What, in April — and I’m embarrassed to admit that I only just discovered it. Most of the information I receive is via word of mouth, and this album never hit my direction.  So I will take this opportunity to make it up to Paul Simon, who I fantasize about interviewing one day.  His latest effort is just as high-quality as his earlier albums, and some reviewers compared it to Graceland.  Loyal fan or not — you must buy it.  I’d also like to congratulate him on still contributing to his art form, which is very unlike some of his early comrades who no longer write new music (hear that Billy Joel?).

So Beautiful Or So What by Paul Simon

Music Spotlight On: Vampire Weekend

I recently discovered Vampire Weekend, but I’m told by musician friends that “they’re huge.” After looking them up, I seem to be the only person that didn’t get the memo. Their debut self-titled album reached #17 on the Billboard 200, and their song, A-Punk, was voted the fourth best song of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine. Their second album, Contra, reached #1 on the Billboard 200. The indie rock band formed in 2006, and its members include: Ezra Koenig; Rostam Batmanglij; Chris Thomson; and Chris Baio. Perhaps I like them so much because the lead singer, Ezra Koenig sounds strikingly similar to Paul Simon. I told this to my musician friend, insisting that my discovery means I have a “musical ear.” He shook his head in disapproval saying, “it’s pretty obvious they sound alike.” Listen to White Sky and Holiday from their second album, Contra, below.