THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G.H. Harding
SIMON & STING --- When Paul Simon announced last year he was touring with Sting, anticipation ran exceptionally high; as both Simon and Sting are artists of the highest caliber. Last night’s final show at NYC’s Madison Square Garden was spot-on excellent in almost every way.
The two sauntered onstage with both their respective bands in tow (almost 17 musicians onstage!) and began the show with Sting’s “Brand New Day” and Simon’s “Boy in the Bubble.” Simon welcomed the audience to their little experiment. At first, there are so many musicians onstage that’s it’s all a bit hard to take in; but, soon you settle in and it all makes sense. Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” and a brilliant-performance of Simon’s classic “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” followed. Simon’s sax player did a brilliant solo mid-song; it was good, but made me remember the late-Michael Becker’s vivid original take which was nothing short of brilliant.
Also exceptionally good was Simon’s “Graceland,” which filled me with as much joy as it did when I first heard the song years ago; a metaphor for so many things, it’s just a brilliant, brilliant song in every way.
Simon’s band, as well as Sting’s, was augmented by some brass and a great violin, that although brilliantly interwoven, was at times almost overpowering at times. Sting’s drummer, Vinnie Colaiuta, was just exceptionally good. He was so good, he almost made me miss Simon’s usual drummer Steve Gadd … out now with Eric Clapton.
Sting’s “Fragile” followed with Simon singing along and the effect was almost transcendent. Other highlights included Simon’s terrific “Hearts and Bones,” a terrific cover of “Mystery Train” and “You Can Call Me Al,” which had the audience on their feet. Sting also delivered a great version of “Roxanne.” Always a crowd favorite and a great song for sure.
The encores, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Every Breathe You Take” and the Everly Brothers' “When Will I Be Loved,” with just the two of them on acoustic guitars, was utterly brilliant. Simon said in the intro, “that’s how music started, a voice and a guitar.” In fact, it was the showstopper of the night. A great master class show; certainly the best so far this year. This is one show that I hope there's a DVD from .. it's that good!
LAMBERT JOINS QUEEN --- As expected, Queen and Adam Lambert have announced a North American summer tour that will take the legendary rock band and the young-gun singer on a 19-date trek starting June 19 in Chicago.
Joining Lambert will be original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor.
After the Windy City, Queen and Lambert will hit towns across Canada and the United States at arenas in Toronto, Los Angeles, Detroit and New York, before wrapping up July 20 in Washington, DC.
On July 5 and 6, the band will return to Las Vegas, where they "stole the show" at last year's iHeartRadio Music Festival. They first performed together in May 2009 on an episode of American Idol (Lambert was runner-up on the show's eight season). They also rocked the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards along with several dates in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and London.
Queen is one of the quintessential rock bands of all time. They've influenced bands for years to come," Lambert said Thursday morning during an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America.
In a press release announcing the tour, May hinted that this could be the last time North America will see Queen live on this scale, saying "Let's rock those beautiful arenas JUST ONE MORE TIME!" Lambert called the tour "beautifully surreal" and vowed to honor the memory of original frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.
"He's a personal hero of mine, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to sing such powerful music for fans of this legendary band," he said.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 14.
CLOSING NOTES --- First, Paul Simon and Sting … now comes the summer tour of Santana and Rod Stewart. I predict we’ll see more packages like this as the summer comes. Great pairing …
Heritage-artist Dave Mason’s new album, Future’s Past sounds just great. Besides re-working some of his classics tracks, like “World In Changes” and “As Sad And Deep As You.” New songs like “That’s Freedom” and “How Do I Get To Heaven” sound like instant-classics too. With a Graham Nash-painting as its cover, I can't wait to hear this one. Lacking a major label, the best place to get this one is from Mason’s own website.
I've been reading Paul Myers Todd Rudgren bio A Wizard A True Star(Todd Rundgren In The Studio) and, just loving it. I was born near Todd in Philadelphia and have always been a fan of the Runt; from “I Saw The Light,” to “Just One Victory,” “We Gotta Get You A Woman” and many of his productions from Grand Funk Railroad, to Meatloaf to Patti Smith and the British band XTC. It’s not a gossip-book, but a very revealing look into the man and his many exploits. To be honest, I have loved from day one, Hall & Oates’ War Babies album, that first came out in 1974 and a project that Todd produced … the notes about that project are brilliant. The book from the U. K.’s Jawbone Books is just exceptional. If you're a Todd-fan, this is a must-read …
Saw Beck on last week's SNL with Jim Parsons as host. The two tracks he performed ("Blue Moon" and "Wave") from his new Bon Iver-inspired album Morning Phase, were terrific; but, he voice was so filtered on both, it was almost out of this world. He almost sounded like an alien. Wonder if the whole album sounds like that. Most confusing ...
Congrats to former Hits-scribe (not to mention the late-great (Soho Weekly News) Roy Trakin as he joins the Hollywood Reporter. I've known Roy for years and the Reporter is lucky to have him. As Roy told me the other day, "there is indeed a third-act." Mazel tov ...
Speaking of writers ... where is Michael Musto? I miss his thoughts terribly ...
Mark Bego's long-overdue book with Glen Campbell-daughter Debby, gets a new release date .... September 11 ...