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Sting And Simon At MSG: A Second Opinion

A party in the Hampton

A party in the Hamptons

Paul Simon is reminiscent of carefree summers – outdoor parties in the Hamptons, late nights on the beach with good friends. Sting, on the other hand, is quiet nights at home, dinner parties – background music. Sting & Paul Simon scheduled to appear together. Great! Two talented entertainers worth experiencing LIVE at least once.

Settled into my seat sandwiched between five pleasant men – a twosome and a trio – feeling like I am on a flight and the person in front of me just put their seat back and my elbowroom has been confiscated on both sides. Never been to the movies solo let alone a concert but I’m as comfortable as I am going to be for the two-hour plus flight through a musical experiment.

The difficulty with writing about music when you’re not an expert (or a loyal fan) is I don’t have a history with most entertainers. Have no comparison as to whether an artist’s performance is on or off or whom they are best suited to share a stage. For instance, at the start of the show, I thought visually Simon and Sting were imbalanced but the beauty of Google and YouTube – I can go back in time. The pairing of Sting and Simon is less questionable and I understand the intention behind the experiment of the music and combined talent. Sting, while more fit and ten years Garfunkel’s junior, is Simon’s other half … for about a third of the show.

BUT the pairing doesn’t work for me. It’s not because their individual sounds don’t blend. They do but the bigger problem is … there is no chemistry. Remember reading Iman’s post regarding the same performance. He mentions reviews where comparisons were made between Sting & Simon vs. Simon & Garfunkel. How could there be? You can’t fake soul. Art & Paul are childhood friends who have a remarkable musical history together. Never saw them perform but I can imagine the synchronicity. Whether it is a musical duo or two lovers, you either have it or you don’t. The combined efforts on stage of Simon & Sting lacked conviction and flow.

Both entertainers sounded great, are seasoned professionals and have fabulous bands supporting them. The young violinist was extraordinary! I have never seen someone play so fiercely! The versatile musician, who looked like he was at a Jimmy Buffet concert – impressive and I am always a sucker for the horns. The drummer with matted hair (certainly took a few nights sleep to get it perfect) and the harmonica player with the great navy pea cap and even the background singer had wonderful moments making the show more interesting.

My favorites were, not surprisingly, the more upbeat songs: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic; Englishman in NY; America; Dessert Rose; the jazzy 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover; Kodachrome; Diamonds on the Soles of Her Feet and the sleepers: I Hung My Head; Fragile; and They Dance Alone.

Some closing thoughts … I enjoyed Sting more during the Police Reunion Tour in 2008 (Red Rocks in Colorado – amazing place to see a show). Art Garfunkel is scheduled to perform at the Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT. Think I’d like to see him and hope for a reunion tour of Simon & Garfunkel. Happy I went but glad it was $100 ticket and not $200.

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