One of the joys of living in LA is the Hollywood Bowl. The acoustics are exemplary; sitting under the stars listening to great music is one of life’s pleasures; and sharing it all with 20,000 others is, while sometimes a bit overwhelming, always a thrill. Just think — 19,999 other people who know all the words, too.
Tuesday night was no exception.
Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound Farewell Tour marked a huge milestone — for him, of course, but also for those of us who grew up with his music. So much has been written about his extraordinary talent, storytelling genius, and poetic sense — by me, among others — that I thought I would take a lighter turn here. (I think the Paul Simon of “Feeling Groovy” and “At the Zoo” might appreciate the whimsy.) To wit:
So there we were at the Bowl, waiting for the concert to begin and chatting with the people seated near us. Next to me was a woman named Mrs. Robinson, who was wearing a fabulous pair of heels; this being LA, she had Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. The man with her (Mr. Robinson, I presume), insisted that “You Can Call Me Al.” As the evening sky turned from a Dazzling Blue to darkness, Simon took the stage. With all the negativity swirling through America right now, his music turned out to be a magical and positively joyful escape.
The audience was comprised of those probably not yet born when Paul and Artie were together; those who are Still Crazy After All These Years for Simon’s music (like B. and me), and a few people old enough to be our parents. (At one point I said to B., “See that woman over there? I thought for a minute that That Was Your Mother!”) There was also a Mother and Child Reunion — parents with young children — sitting right behind us. And while I actually prefer to experience a concert in person versus through my phone’s camera, those who were taking photos or videos captured lots of Kodachrome moments.
Even when it became Late in the Evening, Simon was filled with the energy of a much younger man, dancing like a Boxer at the center of a ring; when the multiple encores ended and he had received the lifetime of ovations he so deserved, he bid us thanks and farewell. Although the show was over, the notes still hung in the air. The Sound of Silence? More like Spirit Voices echoing the strains of Simon’s glorious, global music.
Time to head Homeward Bound. Simon says.
ⓒ 2018 Claudia Grossman