By José Oliveira and Rosine Alleva–Journalist/Photographers–Rock At Night France Correspondents
Venue : PALAIS DES CONGRES – PARIS- November 14, 2016
Unlike Tony Joe White, PAUL SIMON is in really good shape for a 75 year old! You see it in the way he moved his hips on stage, while playing guitar. For sure behind all this, there is a lot of yoga sessions and spa!
Having declared recently to the specialized press in New York, his will to stop his career, there was something in the air like “farewells”! God only knows if this was his last concert in Paris! But between his songs, the emotion was palpable in his dialogue with the audience.
All the artists having known huge sales success and laid planetary hits, are necessarily forced to give a musical space, very close to a “Best Of”, in their set list. And a Paul Simon concert does not escape the rule. But unlike many of his peers, less prolific in the art of recording, Paul came to Europe to defend the colours of his thirteenth solo studio album “Stranger to Stranger”.
An album with colorful tracks, Spanish grooves, traditional African rhythms, traces of gospel, doo wop but also with the exoticism of Brazil. Paul Simon seems to have built Stranger to Stranger from the rhythm up, quite a familiar way since Graceland, in 1986.
On acoustic guitar accompanied by 9 musicians (strings, horns, keyboards and percussion), Paul Simon opened “Stranger to Stranger”with “The Werewolf”. This amazing singer – songwriter has delivered us a whirlwind of emotion throughout this beautiful evening of autumn… And it was difficult not to shiver when he began to play”Bridge Over Trouble Water”. It was no longer time for convoluted searches, but to let emotions speak. There was a kind of recollection, like a prayer, in this sublime concert. What is exciting about Paul Simon is his ability to be reborn at every album. He’s pushing forward, not looking back, which leads to fascinating results.
For us, it was AMERICA at its best!
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I was born in Portugal and lived the Sixties exploring the great UK Rock magazines: "The New Musical Express" and "Melody Maker". Ray Charles and Pat Boone were my father’s fav. I became “The Great Pretender”. Cliff Richard was our Elvis Presley. As a beach boy, with my first guitar, I met a beautiful French girl on the beach! It was the Summer of 69!! We got married and rock music was our dowry. In France, I became a Wine Genetic Research Scientist. One of my works contributed to the decoding of the genome of the vine! As a rock journalist, I’ve worked twenty years for the Portuguese and Brazilian Rock Press. I ‘ve interviewed so many great artists. Then, one day I met FRANK ZAPPA! I got into trouble for introducing my wife to "Uncle Meat"!