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So long Paul Simon...

So long Paul Simon...

Weeks away from his 77th birthday, Paul Simon said farewell to fans at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on the final stop of his Homeward Bound Farewell Tour. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio introduced Simon, calling him "one of the greatest New York City artists of all time." I was lucky enough to catch Simon on this tour at his stop in St. Paul, MN on June 8.

When Simon announced back in February this would be his final tour I did not doubt in my mind that I would find a way to attend a show. I had purchased tickets to his Denver show on May 31. Unfortunately, something came up, and we were unable to attend, so I promptly sold those tickets and purchased two tickets to the St. Paul show. I asked my sister if she would be interested in attending what I thought would be a once in a lifetime show.

I had seen Simon live three times before. In Denver, Kansas City and Lincoln. To say that I am a Paul Simon fan is a gross understatement. The man has had dozens of hits, won sixteen Grammys and written lyrics that are on an entirely different level. His book, Lyrics 1964-2008 is incredible. In my opinion, he is the greatest singer and songwriter of our time. I think his voice and music is a talent we’ll never see again. His voice, at 76 is boyish and clear-youthful. I’ve never heard any age to it listening to my records then going to one of his shows. It’s a fine-tuned instrument that he has preserved beautifully.

Simon and his music mean so much to me that I have a lyric from my favorite Simon song tattooed on my arm.

The song is Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War.

The song tells the story of surrealist artist Rene Magritte and his wife, Georgette. Simon came across a photograph of the couple with the title ‘Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog during the war,’ in a book while he was visiting the home of Joan Baez. It’s such a beautiful song and one of the best he has written.

Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog after the war

Returned to their hotel suite

And they unlocked the door

Easily losing their evening clothes

They danced by the light of the moon

To the Penguins, the Moonglows

The Orioles, and The Five Satins

The deep forbidden music

They'd been longing for

Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog after the war

Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog after the war

Were strolling down Christopher Street

When they stopped in a men's store

With all of the mannequins dressed in the style

That brought tears to their immigrant eyes

Just like The Penguins, the Moonglows

The Orioles, and The Five Satins

The easy stream of laughter

Flowing through the air

Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog apres la guerre

Side by side

They fell asleep

Decades gliding by like Indians

Time is cheap

When they wake up, they will find

All their personal belongings

Have intertwined

Oh Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog after the war

Were dining with the power elite

And they looked in their bedroom drawer

And what do you think

They have hidden away

In the cabinet cold of their hearts?

The Penguins, the Moonglows

The Orioles, and The Five Satins

For now and ever after

As it was before

Rene and Georgette Magritte

With their dog after the war

My tattoo says ‘They dance by the light of the moon,’ and I love it so much. Rene and Georgette has seen a bit of a resurgence with the farewell tour. Simon has reintroduced it to a to a new audience on this tour. When I found out it was on the setlist, I about lost my mind. During the Minnesota concert the lights dimmed and the chamber ensemble yMusic appeared. I wasn’t sure this was it, but it started with the violin, and I knew. It was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. I wept all the way through it and sang it directly into the ear of the guy next to me who was a total stranger.

The crowd was older, but everyone was out of their seats for Me, and Julio Down by the Schoolyard and You Can Call Me Al. Simon has the most energetic presence on stage and knows how to put on a show.

Nearing the end of the concert a montage of photos videos played behind Simon as he played Homeward Bound. We all knew this was it for us, Simon was going to move on with the tour and keep moving closer to the final farewell.

Last week his album ‘In the Blue Light’ came in the mail. His live version of Rene and Georgette with their Dog After the War is on it, along with a couple of songs he played on this farewell tour. His voice is still great as is his writing. The songs are wonderful, and it’s a great album. I hate to see him go, but I can't fault the guy for leaving and wanting to take a break after devoting his life to his music and his fans.

There isn’t enough that I can say about what Paul Simon has done for me. He has always been my go to when I need something musically. He has lyrics/beats for any occasion or mood. There are songs for when I'm down and need that heavy low beat. There are songs for when I need to sing out loud in the car alone. He has a song for every mood. He has lyrics that speak to me on every level. I have spent countless hours in my car listening to his music, each word, each sentence, each message, trying to decipher it or trying to understand what it means to me. The man is a poet like no other, and no other musician or writer has had that affect on me.

June 8, 2018 Xcel Center St. Paul, MN setlist.

America; 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover; The Boy in the Bubble; Dazzling Blue; That Was Your Mother; Rewrite; Mother and Child Reunion; Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard; Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War; Can't Run But; Wristband; Spirit Voices; The Obvious Child; Questions for the Angels; The Cool, Cool River; Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes; You Can Call Me Al; Graceland; Still Crazy After All These Years; Late in the Evening; Homeward Bound; Kodachrome; The Boxer; American Tune; The Sound of Silence.

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