I have a very specific memory of hearing Simon & Garfunkel for the first time. My dad and I were in the den and he Bridge Over Troubled Water on the record player. I was perhaps four and kept laughing at the name “Garfunkel.” And my dad shooshed me. “Just listen,” he said.
And I did. For the last thirty-odd years, I’ve been listening to Simon & Garfunkel, and Paul Simon’s solo work.
I got my sister, Boot, hooked on the music I listened to in college – Dave Matthews, 10,000 Maniacs, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, and Sarah MacLachlan – as well as Paul Simon. We are both fans of his, and of his son, Harper.
We saw Simon & Garfunkel on the Old Friends tour a few years back when it stopped in Cleveland. We were terribly late for the show – it took almost an hour to get a parking spot, then another hour to get inside, get t-shirts, and find our seats. Then twenty minutes to try to remove via glare the people who took our seats, with no help from our Benjamin Button-looking usher. Then when some people further up the aisle offered us two seats, the woman sitting next to me SANG ALL THE SONGS off key. Concert fail.
Last week, we made the five hour drive from Kentucky to Chicago to see Paul Simon and Sting in concert together.We got off 65 according to my iPhone maps app and just as my sister said, “I need to stop for a drink and gas,” we drove into Gary, which I then referred to as “Scary, Indiana,” for the rest of the trip. I’ve never seen such a run-down ghost shell of a city as that. It was sad. In an effort to not repeat our previous concert disaster, we arrived at the hotel at 2:30, changed clothes, had a drink at the hotel bar, went to dinner at 5:30, and were in our seats at 7:15 for the 8:00 show.
It was a bucket list concert for me. I love the music of both these guys and the show didn’t disappoint. I had a hard time keeping myself together when they performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water” because that song reminds me of my dad, and the lyrics are what I imagine him saying to the world – when you’re down and out, feeling small, when friends just can’t be found, I will comfort you. I had my cousin sing this song at my dad’s memorial service last fall, too.
Of course, if you’ve ever been to a concert/play/show/movie with me, you know that I am doomed to reap bad audience karma. I think I must have booed Shakespeare or thrown rotten cabbage at Eurpides’ players because I always manage to sit near the people who are drunk, texting, partially deaf, or just plain obnoxious. For this concert, the couple in front of me was horrible. He was on his cell phone texting or on Facebook for the first twenty or so minutes of the concert. She was completely slopopotomus drunk, waving her arms around and seat-dancing. Besides that…a good experience.
We ate dinner at Lou Malnati’s, which took a while to find since I thought the hotel concierge was saying “Lumenati’s.” The next morning we ate breakfast at Yolk which reminded me of some of my own hometown’s delish breakfast establishments.