Jul 2, 2016

Concert Review: Paul Simon At A Wet Forest Hills Stadium -A Triumphant Return Home to Queens

Paul Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey. His family moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, while he was four years old. So he grew up living on 70th Rd. near Jewel Ave, Main St. & Flushing Meadow Park.
As a teen he attended Forest Hills High School where he met Art Garfunkel starting a brilliant career. Many of his early songs were written on 70th Rd.

Tonight just a mile away from his old high school Paul Simon put on a fantastic show (the second of two sell outs) that was only dampened by the weather.
There was a rain delayed late start, over an hour, followed with a brief shower during & then a heavy down pour lasting just to the end of Simon's set to his first encores.
The rain was heavy, lightning was crackling in the skies as everyone crowded into the ancient stadiums underbelly below the grand stands. It was a mess but everyone survived.

God forbid Forest Hills Tennis Stadium postponed the show earlier in the day, since there was even a tornado watch. I guess if it may snow the entire city shuts down, but here it was ok to risk thousands of lives in the dangerous weather conditions.
But Simon & his band did the best to play to the wet crowd. The show even played past the usual 10PM curfew, ending at 11:10PM due to the late start.

Tonight Paul Simon played a variety of songs from his rather eclectic career. Songs ranging from his Simon & Garfunkel sixties days (which seemed to be the most popular with the crowd) to his solo career right, covering all types of world music influences & cultures, right up to his latest album, which is selling very well.

His nine piece band added  great support behind him, but when Simon was alone with his guitar it made for the best parts of the show.
Anytime one of his songs had a New York reference or Queens reference, the crowd gave a loud cheer of approval.

NY References: Dazzling Blue: "Sweet July we drove the Montauk Highway" / That Was Your Mother: "Well I'm standing on the corner of Lafayette, Across from the Public heading down to the Lone Star Cafe" / Me & Julio Down By Schoolyard: "Goodbye Rosie, the Queen of Corona" / The Boxer: "Going Home, Where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me" / The Sound of Silence: "the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls."
The lyrics "Girls out on the stoop" from Late In the Evening as well as "stepped outside to smoke myself a j" got surprisingly loud cheers as well. Simon also had them dancing in the isles on many of the more up beat songs ie: Mother & Child Reunion / Julio / Obvious Child/ Diamonds on Sole of Her Shoes / You Can Call Me Al / Late In Evening . Oh & if rain was mentioned in the lyrics the crowd jeered!

There was even a treat covering That's All Right Mama certainly in tribute to the passing of Elvis guitarist Scottie Moore.

Tonight was the last night of his American tour, fittingly ending in Forest Hills for the home town boy. Simon himself has recently suggested this may be his last tour as thinks about retirement.
In any event he gave the Queens crowd a real treat as he ended the show with two surprises, breaking away from this tour's customary set list.
He did the classics: Sound of Silence  & Bridge Over Troubled Waters. With the latter he stated I don't sing this one too often but everyone seems to want to hear it. And in my opinion these may have been his best vocals of the evening.

Simon & Garfunkel at Simons 70th Rd. Queens Childhood home 1975
Simon looks good at 74 years of age, donning a grey Queens t-shirt changing his sports jackets to a variety  of different colors throughout the show.
His voice still sounds great even if not still having all the elegance it once had. Simon still carried the tunes beautifully through the Queens night, drifting over the Forest Hills Tennis club & into the overcast skies. It was certainly an amazing performance & one hell of a concert.
thanks to these youtube posts from the forest hills concert:

set list Forest Hills Stadium 7/1/16
The Boy In the Bubble
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Dazzling Blue
That Was Your Mother
Honky Tonk
Slip Slidin' Away
Mother & Child Reunion
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Spirit Voices
The Obvious Child
Stranger to Stranger
Homeward Bound
El Condor Pasa (If I Could)

The Werewolf

The Cool Cool River

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

You Can Call Me Al

I Know What I Know
Late In the Evening
Still Crazy After All These Years

That's All Right Mama
The Boxer
The Sound of Silence
Bridge Over Troubled Water

thanks to these youtube posts from the forest hills concert:


E.M.C. said...

great review, I must say one of the most enjoyable concerts ever!!

Bob Franzem said...

A truly memorable evening, whether he is retiring or not....unforgettable...

Anonymous said...

A truly memorable show, whether he is retiring or not...unforgettable....