We arrived at the box office early. They passed out wristbands, one blue, and most importantly for your Crippled Correspondent, one orange ADA wristband... We dined at the pub inside the theatre, I had to use the weirdest lift I've ever seen to get down to the dining area, a flat platform that flipped-out over the stairs.... It took a long time to figure out how to make the return trip, I thought for one horrible moment I was stuck downstairs. They got it working, and awhile later they asked people wearing the ADA wristbands to come forward. I couldn't resist, I said "ADA, the three sweetest letters in the English language." The crowd laughed.
We entered the showroom, I'd say its closest Oregon equivalent would be The Crystal Ballroom in both layout and vibe, funkiness combined with old-world class-- there was a beautiful chandelier.... Best of all, there was an open-floor, which meant that I got to park my lucky butt front-and center!!!!!!
Simon's set began slowly, "Boy in the Bubble" seemed a little more down-tempo than usual, a good stylistic choice to match the intimacy of the venue, I thought. He did a cover of Jimmy Cliff's "Vietnam" and told us that it was what inspired "Mother and Child Reunion." (Only a genius like Paul Simon could combine a reggae protest-song with a Chinese restaurant menu item and come up with "Mother & Child Reunion.") He played the two songs back-to-back and by-God, we mere mortals could glimpse the influence...... He also covered "Mystery Train" and I was hoping he'd stay with the train-theme and play "Train in the Distance", but alas. However, he did play "Hearts & Bones" and ripped my soul in half.
He mixed in some cuts from his new album, "Dazzling Blue" and "So Bueautiful or So What" and they sounded even better live.
Then he tore the roof off with "Diamonds on the Shoes of Her Shoes" and "The Obvious Child." "Obvious" transported me somewhere else, it was like an out-of-body experience....
There is no way I can recall all of the twenty-odd songs he played that night. "Sound of Silence" "That was Your Mother" "Still Crazy" and "Crazy Love Vol. II" were among them.... I'm still not over the high of repeating a front-row experience I haven't had in twenty-one years (!) He is a master, that's all I can say.....
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