Paul Simon Gives Tour de Force and a Sermonette

In a concert at the riverside pavilion in Cleveland last week, Paul Simon gave the crowd a tour-de-force -- and a sermonette.

The tour-de-force was made up of a strong choice of songs from Simon's 53-year-long career. Five Simon and Garfunkel songs, five songs from the lush "Graceland" album, a couple from last year's "Stranger to Stranger," and 13 more carried the crowd through a 2 hour and 10 minute musical trip. Throughout, Simon hit the right notes, while his band put out striking strong rhythms and soaring psychedelic sounds.

The sermonette came just before the last song:

I feel a little bit funny about saying these things, but I'm giving, I'm allowing myself the privilege of it due to my advanced age. For years it is my observation: Anger is addictive. And we are becoming a nation of addicts. Ask yourself, "Who are the dealers? Who are the pushers? Where, where is that anger coming from?" And be aware of -- when you hear it, when you see it -- be aware of its source. It's not, it's not that we aren't gonna have reasons to be angry. Of course we do. But decision-making and best choices are made with a cool and a calm mind. And in a well-knit community, practice kindness.

Then he played, in acoustic solo, "The Sound of Silence."


Image credit: screen grab from video by Youtube user Max Tetsoshvili


Paul Simon said that he is giving all the profits of his tour to the Half-Earth project. The Half-Earth project aims to save 85% of Earth's species from the rapid extinction that is now happening. The Half-Earth organization figures that that can be achieved by setting aside half of Earth's surface to nature. Half-Earth says that about 15% of land surface and 3% of ocean surface is protected in nature preserves so far.

Video: Sermonette + "Sound of Silence"

by Youtube user Max Tetsoshvili

Set List

Here is the set list from the Paul Simon concert at Nautica in Cleveland, 13 June 2017:

  1. The Boy in the Bubble
  2. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
  3. Dazzling Blue
  4. That Was Your Mother
  5. Rewrite
  6. America
  7. Mother and Child Reunion
  8. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  9. Spirit Voices
  10. The Obvious Child
  11. Stranger to Stranger
  12. Homeward Bound
  13. El Condor Pasa - instrumental part only
  14. Duncan
  15. My Little Town
  16. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  17. You Can Call Me Al
  18. Wristband
  19. Graceland
  20. Still Crazy After All These Years
  21. Questions for the Angels
  22. The Boxer
  23. One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor
  24. Late in the Evening
  25. The Sound of Silence


(From The Paragraph.) [Sources & Notes]

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By Quinn Hungeski,, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2017

33 users have voted.


mimi's picture

but my throat is stuck.

16 users have voted.

@mimi Mimi. Me too.



13 users have voted.

Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

dkmich's picture

Some concerts are really memorable. This sounds like one of those.

6 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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hungeski's picture

@dkmich Yes, it was a great show. I like the mix of songs. I like that he used his old voice well, and didn't cheat the songs. I like how El Condor Pasa served as an intro to Duncan. I like the varied rhythms, electronics and keyboards -- at one point I think someone was banging directly on the harp of the piano. It all sounded great. I like what he said in the sermonette, and following that up with "Sound of Silence." It's been ten days, and the glow of it still lingers.

9 users have voted.

"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

enhydra lutris's picture

6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

earthling1's picture

without tearing up.
The last time I saw an acoustic version of that song was at the Hollywood Bowl somewhere back in 64' or 65'. He and Art did that song with just a guitar.
The memories came flooding back.
Thank you Hungeski.
And thanks to Max Tetsoshvili.

7 users have voted.