Monday, March 3, 2014

Concert Review: Paul Simon & Sting in Auburn Hills, Michigan

For my dad's birthday, my mother and I bought him tickets to see two of his favorite artists perform on stage together: Paul Simon and Sting. While I was never the biggest fan of Sting or The Police, I've always enjoyed the music of both Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, so I was excited for the possibilities.

We arrived at The Palace just before eight o'clock to find that our seats had been ungraded. However the reassignment table was such a mess that I was still standing in line when "Brand New Day" began to sound from the main stage. It sounded great, but I didn't get to see any of it performed, and in fact missed part of "Boy In the Bubble," in which Sting's distinctive voice joined Paul Simon's for the chorus. The first song I heard fully was a favorite Sting track of mine, "Fields of Gold," which was played as a gorgeous duet. 

Photos by Kenneth Sedam
Paul Simon left the stage, and Sting launched into some of his classics including "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," "Englishman In New York," and a very staying version of "I Hung My Head." He then played two more Police classics, "Driven to Tears" and "Walking on the Moon." "Driven to Tears" was really where the band began to show how great they were, with some impressive electric guitar and a killer violin solo. 

Paul Simon returned to the stage for the perfect crossover song with Sting, a performance of "Mother and Child Reunion" even more reggae-riddled than the original. Sting then left the stage, and Paul Simon played "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover." 

The intro to "Dazzling Blue" was another showcase for the band's talents. The drummer began to play a sitar-style slide guitar, and other percussionists came in to create a tabla feel. Nothing really does justice to "Dazzling Blue" quite like hearing it live with Sting and Paul Simon's band. 

After "Dazzling Blue," they played a slightly more country "Graceland" and "Still Crazy After All These Years." Paul Simon and band then played one of the most exciting tunes of the evening in terms of energy from both the performers and the audience. "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard" was incredibly fun and high-energy. My only complaint was that Paul Simon opted for avoiding the high note in the "goodbye Rosie" line, whether due to the fact that his voice isn't as agile as it used to be or because he just wanted a different feel for the live song.

Sting returned to the stage for a joint cover of  "Fragile" and "America." Although I missed part of it, "America" was still as tear-jerkingly beautiful as the original Simon & Garfunkel version. 

Again, Sting was left alone on-stage to play "Message in a Bottle" and "Hounds of Winter."

He continued with "They Dance Alone" and "Roxanne." Finally, Sting and the band performed an impressive "Desert Rose." 

The duo rejoined yet again for "The Boxer." It wasn't a perfect rendition, but it was certainly a good one.

Minus Sting yet again, Paul Simon played a rousing "That Was Your Mother," followed by "Hearts and Bones." He then did two songs back to back, almost in a medley fashion; "Mystery Train" and "Wheels." He hailed them as his favorite songs before kicking off the acapella opening to "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes." Simon closed his set with an energetic "You Can Call Me Al," the lyrics to which he altered slightly.

A very brief pause separated the encore, at which point Sting and Simon returned to the stage to do "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Every Breath You Take" and "Late in the Evening" together.

The band left the stage, but Paul Simon and Sting returned for one final encore, a duet cover of The Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved." The audience then provided a standing ovation as the lights came up after the great show.

Paul Simon and Sting put on a very respectful, under-stated dual show. Both musicians still sounded near the top of their musical game, despite being past their respective heydays. It was a fan-pleasing show, loaded with big hits by both artists and their previous bands. The sounds managed to mesh better than I'd ever imagined, to create a great sound throughout the whole show. 

No comments:

Post a Comment