Hammersmith Apollo, London
Tuesday 24th October 2000
That’s Where I Belong
One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor
You’re The One
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Look At That
That Was Your Mother
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al
Old Friends (solo)
Homeward Bound (solo)
I Am A Rock (solo)
The Boy In The Bubble
Pledging My Love
The Late Great Johnny Ace
Late In The Evening
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Still Crazy After All These Years
Vincent Nguini – Guitar
Bakithi Kumalo- Bass
Steve Gadd – Drums
Mark Stewart – Guitars, Cello, Saxophone
Tony Cedras – Accordion, Keyboard, Guitars
Andy Snitzer- Saxophone, Synthesizer
Jay Ashby- Trombone, Percussion
Jamey Haddad – Percussion
Alan Mallet- Keyboard, Accordion
Steve Shehan- Percussion
Evan Ziporyon -Clarinet, Saxophone
Harper Simon – Guitar
This is just a setlist and band call. It predates my reviewing days, but it is relevant to compare set lists with later reviews, and the setlist comes from: http://www.paul-simon.info
What I posted on the Guestbook for The Band the next morning (25 October 2000):
Saw Paul Simon in London last night. The t-shirts indicate that the tour is headed stateside, so do not miss it if you have the remotest chance of getting there. No support act. It started more or less on time (audience delays of about 10 minutes).
The man performed for 2 hours 10 minutes. Brilliant lighting. More to the point, one of the best bands I’ve seen were behind him.
As well as featuring most of the new album (which was actually better live than on record, a rare thing), he visited some less-frequently played parts of his catalogue – One Man’s Ceiling , Old Friends / Bookends, I am a Rock, Homeward Bound, Late in the Evening and a superb version of Pledging My Love melted into The Late Great Johnny Ace. (And lots of Graceland / Rhythm of the Saints stuff). The banjo was prominent on Hurricane Eye.
You could tell they’d spent hours on soundchecking. Every word was articulated precisely and clearly. Every instrument was cleanly audible. (After posting that I was directed to an article. A sound team analysed every hall on the tour FIVE MONTHS before the shows).
There were great variations in volume from intimately quiet (solo voice, his guitar + cello) to stretching out all guns blazing, but it never passed the point where sound gets muddied and confused bouncing around the hall.
The contrast in quality, professionalism and effort with the last Van Morrison concert I saw, when he was duetting with Linda Gail Lewis, with a fifth-rate plodding semi-pro bar band backing him, no lighting plot and a set about half the length started 40 minutes late (at about the same admission price), was remarkable.
Why do so many singers and bands still think it cool to be very late on stage? I know that in clubs, they’re asked to be at least 30 minutes late to aid beer sales. At festivals with several bands, there were always delays and hassle changing equipment. But outside that? Is there any good reason beyond pathetic ego? I’ve heard musicians say it builds up tension. No way. It builds up resentment and irritation. You get to the gig. Everything is set up on stage, hopefully they’ve soundchecked (often it becomes apparent that either they haven’t, or don’t know how to), but you wait.
Actors, singers in musicals and dancers start dead on time in their stage shows, and often do six nights a week and two matinees. Macey Gray (also brilliant) was about an hour and a quarter or more late earlier in the year. So, any answers from any musicians? I ask this knowing that certain of our subject matter were among the worst offenders!
A REPLY (“W.S. Walcott”)
Enjoyed reading Peter Viney’s post about performers coming on stage late for a concert. That has always bothered me. It seems like they are conveying the message that “I am so important, you should consider yourself privileged just to be able to come to my concert”. I read that Alice Cooper delayed a concert(when he was in his heyday) for 2 hours because he was watching a hockey game on the tube in the dressing room. I saw him about 10 years ago and there was no such delay. The show started right on time. I don’t mind a 10-15 delay, but when it goes beyond 30 minutes it is just unacceptable.
My theory (and I may be wrong) is that a lot of this boils down to maturity. Take the Paul Simon concert for example. Mr. Viney said it started 10 minutes late. I’d have no problem with that. But remember, Simon is an old pro. He knows the score. He is the consumate professional. Excellent sound, lighting, etc. He is still a big name in the music business but he is not a real hot act anymore, not a big star with the kids on MTV. He knows his audience and what they expect. He isn’t going to pull that kind of crap. His audience is, for the most part, an older discriminating clientel who have paid top dollar to see a good show. Probably the type of audience that is very selective in which concerts they attend. On the other hand, many young kids will go to whatever concert happens to be around and may not be that fussy in what they hear. No slight on the younger kids. I was exactly the same way. It didn’t matter if the band sucked or not. It was usually a good party.