New Jersey-born music legend Paul Simon balked for years at performing in casino venues, but returned to Atlantic City for the second time in 2011 on Saturday, Nov. 26, with a sensational eight-piece band.
ATLANTIC CITY — At a time when vanity runs rampant among many contemporary musicians, it’s refreshing to see that an artist who’s certainly earned the right to show some swagger, Paul Simon, still seem humble after all these years.
Simon visited Atlantic City for the second time since Memorial Day weekend, bringing his sensational eight-piece band into the Taj Mahal’s Mark G. Etess Arena about six months after the group visited the Borgata Event Center — shows that marked rare casino appearances for the twice-inducted Rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Famer (with Art Garfunkel in 1990, and as a solo artist in 2001), and one who’s been in the entertainment limelight for about 50 years.
And there was no grand entry for the 70-year-old this Saturday night. Donned in jeans, a light T-shirt and black sports jacket, he took the stage amidst the rest of his band promptly at 8pm, addressing the crowd only briefly after four songs that included two classics (“The Boy in the Bubble” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”) and two off his heralded, April-released 12th studio album So Beautiful or So What (“Dazzling Blue” and “The Afterlife”).
“Hello friends,” he said. “I’m tempted to ask how it’s going, but I’m not sure if you’re here to gamble or here to party … Thanks for having me.”
The hour-and-a-half long show included another song off his latest album (“Love is Eternal Sacred Light”), the classics “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Hearts and Bones” (the title track of his sixth studio album), “Slip Slidin’ Away” and “The Only Living Boy in New York,” and a five-song encore including “Sound of Silence,” “Kodachrome,” “Gone At Last,” “Gumboots” and the Beatles’ hit “Here Comes the Sun.”
At the end of the Beatles’ number, Simon thanked the late George Harrison for having penned such a beautiful song.
And again, where material possessions and posses are the order of the day for many modern musicians, Simon’s priorities are instead to surround himself with some of the best musicians on the planet, many of whom are multi-instrumentalists.
The band featured three percussionists playing a variety of rhythmic instruments, a piano, Hammond B-3 organ, several horns, a mandolin, electric and resonator guitars in addition to Simon’s acoustic, and a stringed instrument that sounded like an Indian sitar, among other pieces.
Paul Simon’s Atlantic City Set list
Saturday, Nov. 26, at Mark G. Etess Arena, Trump Taj Mahal
1. The Boy in the Bubble
2. Dazzling Blue
3. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
4. The Afterlife
5. Mother and Child Reunion
6. That Was Your Mother
7. Hearts and Bones
8. Slip Slidin’ Away
10. Peace Like a River
11. The Obvious Child
12. The Only Living Boy in New York
13. Love is Eternal Sacred Light
14. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
15. Late in the Evening
16. Sound of Silence
18. Gone At Last
19. Here Comes the Sun
Paul Simon played songs from his recent So Beautiful So What, and from throughout his unparalleled career, during his Atlantic City debut as a solo artist.
Paul Simon, who years ago vowed never to perform in an Atlantic City casino, has apparently had a change of heart. The enigmatic pop singer and songwriter will make his Atlantic City solo debut with a May 28 one-night-stand ...