God damn Paul Simon.
I saw his concert last night at DAR Constitution Hall and the mother fucker made me cry three times. In public. By myself.
I knew I was likely to lose my shit if he played “The Obvious Child,” but the one-two punch of that song coupled with “The Only Living Boy in New York” knocked me right into a nostalgia sinkhole from which I worried I would not recover.
“The Obvious Child” was big on my freshman hall. We listened to it all the time and I’ll never forget the joy that song brought to my unrequited love.
Paul seems to want to drag you into the nostalgia sinkhole (“Sonny’s yearbook from high school is down from the shelf and he idly thumbs through the pages…”). The Simon & Garfunkel songs about the tenuous bonds of friendship, a la “The Only Living Boy in New York,” slay me. I cried the whole way through that song.
This was the first concert I’ve ever attended by myself. I wasn’t sure if Dave would want to go, so even though I was theoretically able to pull the trigger on tickets right when they went on sale, I waited until that evening to buy, until I could check in with him. By that point, only singles were available. I grabbed one and hoped I’d be able to find another close by, but it never happened.
I do stupid shit like this all the time. I over analyze stuff before committing when I really should be jumping at the chance to do it. Take the spring digital photography class being offered by my County. Improving my photography skills is on my fucking list of goals for 2011. But I still hemmed and hawed about it a good couple of weeks. Even when I sat down to register, I spent 15 minutes Googling the instructor first. Of course, when I was finally ready to commit, I found the class was full…and probably had been the entire two weeks I was thinking about it.
Anyway, being at the concert by myself was fine, particularly after the show started. The two seats next to me were empty during the first 2.5 songs. I started to wonder why the hell Dave couldn’t be there when two girls showed up, beers in hand. They didn’t seem super into it and talked to each other during several songs, including “The Only Living Boy in New York,” which made me ornery.
A cute, overly excited young couple in front of me inexplicably kept checking their phones for texts during most of the show. I know I’m a crotchety old woman, but I seriously don’t understand how people who clearly love Paul Simon so much can be unable to focus on him for two hours. The girl actually responded to a text from her Mom to tell her that Paul was playing “Mother and Child Reunion” at that very moment. Your Mom needed to know that, right now? Really?
Of course, after I got a ticket for this show, I found out Paul was also playing the 9:30 Club two nights later. But I live under a rock so was already too late to get tickets. I’m not sure why exactly, but the 9:30 Club show was the hotter ticket, as evidenced by the fact that Stubhub’s going price for it was $400 yesterday while there were still reasonably priced tickets for the Constitution Hall show available only hours beforehand.
I was a little worried about the venue. On the “I am old and want comfort” hand, Constitution Hall has very comfortable seating and a good view from anywhere in the house. On the “maybe I should want to be a hip music aficionado” hand, the Interpol show we saw at Constitution Hall back in November was kind of lame. The sound was pretty muffled and the crowd, potentially in reaction to this, possibly due to the ass-sucking comfort of the seating, sat the whole time.
No such problems last night. The sound was excellent, crisp and quite a bit louder than I’d anticipated. The crowd was very enthusiastic, but thankfully (I am old!…and inhibited!) stayed seated for a good chunk of the show. But people started getting up and dancing during “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and I must admit the atmosphere became electric and awesome at that point.
When Paul started “Gumboots,” he seemed to be having some trouble remembering the words, so a dude (apparently Paul Fournier) from the audience jumped up on stage and helped him sing. Paul was cool about it, and unlike with Rayna took turns singing with this guy. But I don’t think Paul actually invited him on stage until after the guy was already trying to get up there. The front row bouncer tried to stop him, but Paul seemed OK with it, so he let him up. I’m wondering if Paul’s going to be sorry at the audience participation trend he seems to have started. The Rayna thing seemed special, but if people start trying to come on stage every show it could get a little old, for Paul and the audience.
This guy did a good job. I loved it when Paul handed him one of his water bottles and insisted he take a sip. I also loved how the guy’s outfit clearly indicated he had come straight from work. ROCK AND ROLL!
During the first encore, Paul and two of his band members played “Here Comes the Sun,” which was the third time he made me cry. I love the Beatles, and I love this song, and George is dead, and Paul nailed this song. So I cried. Again. Fucker.
At that point I realized this might be the best concert ever. The band seriously rocked, Paul’s voice sounded great, the set list was almost perfect, and even the songs I wasn’t as familiar with sounded really good.
Paul also seemed like he was having a great time. It was inspiring.