Terri Hemmert took the stage last night saying there was excitement in the air because it was a rare opportunity to witness a musical legend in an intimate venue.
[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Paul Simon’s[/lastfm] meticulous and intricate arrangements and wordplay are best appreciated in a setting like the Vic and he did not disappoint, leading his crack, multi-instrumental eight piece band on an exuberant romp through his extensive catalog with a few detours that included Junior Parker, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimmy Cliff [/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Chet Atkins[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]George Harrison[/lastfm].
Of course the joy of Simon’s songs are always tempered by bombs in the baby carriage, the Christmas dinner in a war zone and the mother and child reunion that was a chicken and egg dish on the menu. Sometimes I swear even the feeling groovy guy was on his way to jump off the 59th St. Bridge. The visuals included photos of the solar system, the Serengeti plain, New Orleans and New York City, enhancing the music that would crystallize from time to time as rockabilly, reggae, zydeco , folk-rock and even a little bit of jazz-rock fusion but most often it was a blend that could best be described as modern pop. (We humans must label things; after all, it was one of our first assignments.)
Simon was relaxed and confident throughout the show acting as bandleader as well as the center of attention, exhorting and praising his combo which seemed especially enthusiastic on material from the new album “So Beautiful or So What,” but the whole concert was a joy to behold. He plays again tonight at a sold out Chicago Theatre.