Friday evening, 7:30 pm. I park my truck at the Pacific Science Center, get my favourate Doppio Espresso and walk past the Space Needle thats looking beautiful at night. I arrive at Key Arena. The security lady finds my camera in the bag, takes a long look at it. Asks the other security lady "Is this a professional camera?". "No – you can let him in". Yipee!!! Paul Simon concert with my camera. 🙂
I hear some guitar solo as i walk in. I ask myself – how can i be late for this show? I keep hoping that it will be some opening band and not Paul. I see this short guy on stage wearing a hat and holding a guitar. Man i am late! Damn it!!! I find my seat. My seat is really cool. 10th row – right in the center. I watch the band closely and hey – thats not Paul. He aint singing either. Thank god! I message my buddies to tell em how good my seats are. And i listen to the Jerry Douglas Band play the blues. For those of you who dont know him/his music, he has won 12 Grammy awards and plays amazing slide guitars. He was cool.
As we wait for Paul, i take a look around to notice who have come to watch Paul. They were mostly oldies, people in their 50’s. Understandably so – knowing the fact the Paul is 64. After a wait for a few minutes – Paul hits the stage. People start roaring. This old man in the crowd with long hair starts dancing like a teenager. THe sound of that happy music has put a smile on everyone’s face. The crowd is cheering and dancing. The first song gets over fast. Paul walks back to the stage, stands next to the drummer and comes running in, dancing to the tune of this happy happy song. Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard sounds like the happies and the peppiest song ever. The cowd is on their feet – clapping, singing, dancing – having a good time.
The music goes on, people are screaming. Its party time. There is magic going on on the stage. A simple "C" chord is sounding sweeter than ever. The voice is narating every emotion in the song, you dont need to listen to the words to know what the song is about. You can feel the pain, sense the happiness. He is singing as if its the last show he will ever do. He is singing, playing his guitar, dancing. I observe how he is involved into his singing. I see his entire body rise as he sings a high note, notice him he waves his hand in synch with the lows and highs of the song. Wow!
I will never forget him singing "Father and Daughter" – my favourite song from his latest album. Each time i hear the song – i am reminded of Kalpita (my niece). If i ever can sing the song only half as good as Paul – i’ll like to sing it to my niece. I still remember the father and daughter in the crowd – dancing to that song. I can never forget the smile on his face as he sang "The Boxer". Bridge Over Troubled Water sounded like a happy song somehow that day. I can never forget me dancing to "Diamonds in the Soles of Her Shoes", i can never forget this show. I have never seen a band do more than two on-cores. This man did three. And when he left the stage for the fourth third the cword was screaming for more. Click here to check out the setlist. And here’s a link to the pics i took. Me with Bakithi Kumalo.
Wow – this was a show to remember. A man in the crowd screamed "God bless you Paul" as Paul completed his set. Yes God bless this man! He sure knows what it takes to make us happy. No wonder that time magazine has named him as one of the 100 people who shape our world. He is listed under "Heroes & Pioneers". Here is a link to his page.
As he finished his set – he paused, looked at the crowd, waved to us and said "Its a pleasure" – the pleasure was totally our Paul. You are my Hero!