Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon has ended his 50-year performing career, bowing out in style with an exhilarating and emotional performance under moonlight in Corona Park, Queens, New York.
He played his last ever show on Saturday, just a few miles from his childhood stomping ground. Fittingly, he closed with The Sound of Silence, the song that launched his career and that of his erstwhile collaborator Art Garfunkel. The pair recorded it back in 1964 but it took a year for the lyrical masterpiece (“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again”) to gain traction with the public. It later became an anthem for the 1960s social revolution.
Simon, 76, has made it clear he is only retiring from performing; he intends to keep making music in the studio. He spoke earlier this year about his decision to stop touring, revealing he felt his performing career was drawing to a natural close – something he described as “unsettling and a relief”.
His final show celebrated an incredible career. The 26-song set covered Simon’s folk years through to his more stylistically experimental solo work. As you would expect, he played all his best-loved songs including Kodachrome, Homeward Bound, Late In The Evening, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Graceland and Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard (with his wife Edie Brickell joining him on stage to whistle the solo).
Billboard critic Joe Lynch described it thus: “Every fervent round of applause felt bittersweet; in the back of your mind, you realized this was the last time you’d be treated to one of rock’s most consistent talents performing songs that are indelibly part of our collective cultural fabric.”
There’s plenty of footage online of Simon’s last gig (much of it of poor quality) so here’s a bit of classic Simon.
MAIN IMAGE: Courtesy of PA Images