Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Paul Simon, Hyde Park 2012

I was reminded recently of the condescending, graceless performance of politico Dali Tambo on 'Imagine', when he was happy to receive Paul Simon's apology for any offence caused by 'Graceland', but refused to offer one in return for any offence caused by Artists Against Apartheid.  Well, I suppose the fact is that Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela alone represented more voices than AAA ever did, and they were happy to tour the songs, along with Ladysmith Black Mambazo  (I wonder if Tambo has asked for apologies from all of them).  Makeba is no longer with us, but Masekela is, and he was one of the stars of Paul Simon's performance in Hyde Park last Sunday.

A bonus was the appearance of a  cheerful Jimmy Cliff, who sang The Harder they Come, Many Rivers to Cross and Vietnam.  It was like being 18 all over again.

The best parts of the show were numbers from Graceland - Under African Skies, the Boy in the Bubble, Graceland, Crazy Love and Diamonds, which sent the crowds whirling and whooping.  There was also a terrific, swinging Call Me Al. The highlight however was in the first encore: Paul Simon alone with an acoustic guitar singing 'The Sound of Silence'.  The crowd, many of whom were well and truly Tuborged (and there was also much more weed in evidence than at the Boss's show), fell utterly silent.  It was magical and moving.

Read the ever-engaged and engaging Sarfraz Manzoor here and the ageless Robin Denselow here.

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