It was a South African-like sun that brought the smiles and covered the RDS for Paul Simon’s farewell tour last night.
Emotional scenes played out as the singer gave a tour de force of his rich catalogue, a musical voyage that may be his last across the globe.
Coming from Manchester earlier this week, where the artist originally penned ‘Homeward Bound’, the name for the tour, Simon has not disappointed. Last night was no different.
Indeed, his farewell tour will reach its pinnacle when in his native Queens on September 22, where he intends to turn off the mic after more than six decades touring.
Simon was preceded at the RDS by US blues singer Bonnie Raitt — joined by Irish legend Paul Brady on stage — and singer-songwriter James Taylor, who showcased a catalogue of classics that lifted the RDS crowd before the main act, with songs such as ‘Fire and Rain’ where the sun was beating down as the crowd sang along.
‘You’ve Got A Friend’ received a standing ovation. Taylor also rewarded fans with ‘Sweet Baby James’ and ‘Carolina in My Mind’, tipping his cap to cheers.
After a modest arrival on stage, Paul Simon started off with the Simon and Garfunkel hit ‘America’. Now 76, Simon still exhibits that laissez-faire hippy familiarity that warms fans to him.
Just like his last visit to Dublin at the 3Arena in November 2016, Simon also hits those high notes, reaching familiar parts of his rich archive of folk and pop anthems.
From his iconic Graceland album, Simon played ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’ and ‘Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes’, among others.
Indulging in a bit of stage repartee, he said it was his final tour but that he would still keep coming back to Dublin. He then admitted he’d said the same line when playing in Scotland!
Fans were also told of his first musical moments, aged 13, when he learned guitar and how to put a song together. It was a special moment.
One of the most intimate moments at the RDS was when the music toned down for Rene and Georgette Magritte’s ‘Dog after the War’, with accompanying violins and wind instruments.
He may seem at times frail, but Simon keeps reinventing his classics. At one stage, a rendition of ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’ was delivered like a Joni Mitchell number. More importantly, Simon is still enjoying this. Even if Homeward Bound. And let’s keep the hope for years to come that every stop is indeed planned for this poet and his band.
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