As I'm writing this entry, I'm two weeks shy of my quarter-century mark. So how the hell does somebody born in the Disco Era, a whole eight years after S&G went their seperate ways, come to find herself at a concert meant for the baby boomer crowd that grew up in the roiling sixties? It's a fun question, and it has to do with parents who just missed the sixties agewise and the beautiful poetry of one Mr. Paul Simon.
My parents graduated from high school in 1976. This means that they caught the tail end of the sixties as they grew up, and one of the things this caused, especially in my mother, is a love of the music in the era that she was coming to age. While I was growing up, my dad was a mechanic for the local Avis franchise, and since it didn't belong to corporate, my dad's boss owned the cars. Which meant that cars rented from Redding would need to be retrieved from Sacramento or San Francisco nearly every weekend, and sometimes there were even more far flung trips to places like Montana (seven states, one weekend, oy!) and Los Angeles.
One of the rules in my family is that control of the radio delves to the driver, and since my dad didn't really care what was listened to, control deviated to my mother in the front seat, and my mom knew every oldies station up and down the valley. Thus, Jill and I grew up listening to all the songs of the era, from the Beatles, to the Rolling Stones, to the Everly Brothers, to a certain duo called Simon and Garfunkel. And while it doesn't seem to have caught on Jill (I mean, she listens to all that *modern* crap ;) ), it caught on me, and it's prolly why I get such a big hit out of both folk and celtic music. :)
I hit on the thing every once in a while, my mom had an actual record album of S&G's greatest hits, and I came to fall in love with 'I am a Rock' even more than usual, but...I never drew the connection from the Simon of S&G and the Paul Simon of 'Mother and Child Reunion' and 'Loves Me Like a Rock', which both got airplay. And I never connected that Simon with the Paul Simon of 'You Can Call Me Al' which was playing on the current hits station in the mid-1980s. That was all about to change, though
In 1993-1994, my sophomore year of high school, my mother bought Jill and I both CD boomboxes for Christmas, and then, knowing there was a CD player in the house, started buying CDs of music she liked, telling us kids we were free to listen to it, but it belonged to her. One of the CDs my mom picked up was a box set cataloging one Paul Simon's career. And the name rung a faint bell, but I couldn't quite place it, until the first CD came out of its packaging, and katster heard all those wonderful songs she'd heard so many times growing up...and I was caught.
Never give an alientated 15 year old Simon's music. Never. Not unless you want them to become a stark raving fangirl. In fact, I remember it ticking me off quite nicely that they didn't include 'I am a Rock' in the CD box set. I soon forgave them for many of the songs from Simon's solo work that I had never heard before, but that had been my personal anthem over the hell I'd had in junior high.
Connecting this was sophomore honours English. Occassionally, there is one teacher who manages to light a spark under a kid, and get them to do things they never would have suspected. And my English teacher from sophomore year, despite a rocky start, soon found a way to light a fire, by somehow encouraging a kat to get a better hang on the idea of the subtle use of metaphor and similie in her own work by not only encouraging her to read the poetry he was assigning for class, but by encouraging this enthusiasm about Simon's music, and going from a literal understanding of the ideas in them to complicated metaphor. (And senior year he won my heart by pointing out that S&G did a variant on the poem we were reading for class at that moment, which was 'Richard Corey', but I'm digressing.)
Anyway, the point is, like the folks in the generation before me, Simon's body of work, including his S&G years got me through the tortorous times of adolescence and the college years. When I was an angsty high school student writing poetry and musing about dystopian fiction, it was that box set getting me through it all. In sophomore year, when I was fed up with the roommates, I would wander in my room and blast my CD copy of S&G's greatest hits (which I had acquired at some point in between), and in that same miserable fscking year, somehow two of my friends (one of them being spitgirl, of all people) somehow found and picked up Paul's latest CD, which was Songs from the Capeman, which was a musical he had been working on in all those years since I became a stark raving fangirl. To this day, it remains one of his more obscure CDs, which is kinda sad, because there are some beautiful songs on the album. (The cast album never got released; Broadway isn't *thrilled* about musicals about murderers, and it flopped before it could build up the word of mouth. Helped launch the career of pop singer Marc Anthony, though.)
Anyway, I'm rambling here. The short of it, somebody not quite twenty-five loved the concert. I'd gotten to see Simon once before, when he was touring with another famous singer-songwriter from the era, and believe me, it's interesting to see just how far Simon and Dylan had diverged from common roots in the New York folk scene. But that's not the concert that I went to tonight. Tonight was Paul and Art, together again. And this near twenty-five year old couldn't believe how close she'd come to letting this one slip through her hands.
Anyway, tonight's set list:
old friends (this song strikes me as terribly more wistful when Art sings "How terribly strange to be seventy", seeing as how he turned 62 on Wednesday)
hazy shade of winter (on the first *really* rainy day of the CA rainy season)
i am a rock (wow, I forgot how this song makes me feel, was nearly in tears the whole time)
america (another one of those heart tuggers)
at the zoo/baby driver (both these are just fun songs)
kathy's song (just Art and Paul, the way it was meant to be -- this is what I call my 'muse' song...)
hey schoolgirl (the wannabe everly brothers!)
Speaking of the Everly Brothers, holy crap, guess who just showed up. %) They sung three songs:
wake up little susie
all i have to do is dream
let it be me
and then Simon, Garfunkle, and the brothers all rocked with "Bye, Bye Love" before the brothers left.
parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (love this song, wish they'd do the countermelody, though. Side of a Hill is one of Paul's underrated songs.)
sounds of silence (i *will* learn to play this on my guitar. i *will*)
second montage sequence, with scenes from the Graduate
mrs. robinson (well, we just reffed the Graduate, we have to!)
slip slidin' away (this remains one of my favourite Simon tunes ever, and Simon thinks it should have been an S&G tune.)
el condor pasa (love this one too, would love to hear them attempt the spanish lyrics, though.) %)
keep the customer satisfied (only song I didn't recognize right away, to be honest, it's an upbeat tune, but utterly forgettable. Kinda an early 'Cars are Cars')
only living boy in new york (this is my *absolute* favourite S&G song, because it ...you can hear Paul's hurt in it and the betrayal... and he's trying so *hard* not to let on that he hurts...)
american tune (I loved this back to back, 'cause this is one of my favourite Simon tunes in general. And new meaning since that damned day in September, too)
my little town ("when i pledged allegience to the wall", one of the best lines ever...)
bridge over troubled waters (bridge is a take it or leave it song for me, it feels rather...fake, for some reason. But Paul taking a shot at the second verse was *great*)
cecila (hehe, just a feelgood song)
boxer (no missing verse, which sucks, but they made up for it by doing a solo on this weird instrument I've only seen once before, when rosefox was unpacking hers. That unearthly sound really fits the song.)
leaves that are green (again, a favourite, especially when I was 21/22. If you've heard the song, you'll know why.)
feelin' groovy (nice way to end, was happily singing it while I was leaping stairs in rockridge)
And yeah, it was just great all the way around, and I'm not going to forget this one. Oh yeah. Best line of the night:
Art: ...that means we've been friends for fifty years.
Paul: this means we started arguing about forty-seven years ago
(lots of applause)
Paul: (faking a hurt voice) that's the thing that's gotten the most applause all night! Us arguing!
(granted, it was early in the show, but it was funny as hell.) %)
Yeah. I had a blast. Even in the nosebleed seats. And I need a music icon.
and the years are rolling by me
they are rocking evenly
and I am older than I once was
and younger than I'll be
it's not unusual
nor is it strange
after changes upon changes
we are more or less the same
we are more or less the same
--missing verse from the Boxer.