Paul Simon Stays Cool

A month or so ago, Paul Simon played an extra show while stopping through Seattle. He could have packed another full-sized arena but, after playing at the cavernous, arena-esque WaMu Theater, he did a show at the much smaller Showbox at the Market. This is the kind of venue he hasn’t played for years… a place that only holds a few thousand folks and has amazing sightlines no matter where you stand. And he seemed to have a great time playing this club; it almost felt like a thank you gift to his fans for supporting him over the years.

Then, a couple of weeks back, there was a nice Rolling Stone feature on Simon and his new album. As a guitar geek, the most impressive thing for me was the guitar of choice in the opening photograph of the article: it’s Simon holding his old Size 3 Gurian. Sure, Simon has a signature model Martin but the axe he grabbed when the photographer from RS came by was his “old friend,” the Gurian. What a cool gesture.

Finally, there’s this clip (which has now gone viral) where Simon grabbed a lucky fan out of the audience of his Toronto gig and asked her to play “Duncan” (the tune she was requesting he play) in its entirety. She’s shocked at this once-in-a-lifetime moment but Simon looks like he’s having a blast.

Truth be told, I haven’t followed Paul Simon’s career as closely as most. I enjoy his hits and the major albums but I’d hardly call myself a completist. That may have to change. Here is a guy clearly having fun with his music and not phoning it in, a guy who somehow seems like a Regular Joe despite all the accolades, money and fame. Keep it up, Paul… I can’t wait to see what you do next.