Paul Simon is getting up there in the years (he was making a come back when I was 14 in 1974), but he still has about 20 years before he’ll fit into the YMCA Tai Chi class, and he still sounds great after all these years (I wonder how many people say that about Paul Simon). We saw him at the Greek Theater in Berkeley which was fitting in a “gosh, we’re old” sort of way because he did the soundtrack for the movie The Graduate which was filmed in Berkeley back when we were young (this poster was in our hotel room – yes, we stayed in a hotel 25 miles from our house – Tony can’t see at night and my backseat driving gets worse the later it gets, “It’s green, it’s green, it’s greeeeen . . .ahhh, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? NO NOT OUR LIGHT, THEIR LIGHT . . . silence . . . “Sorry I almost killed us.” “Me, too.”). Kip who drives from Santa Barbara to San Francisco and back for concerts (almost weekly it seems), pointed out our different approaches to concert-going when he texted us after we let him know where we were, “Hey, thanks for letting me know you will be spending the night 20 minutes from your house.” Sarcasm does not skip a generation.
A lot of people think of Berkeley as the place where the tree people lived, but it’s the closest thing the West Coast has to an East Coast town. Beautiful tree lined streets (sans people living in them) lined with Craftsmen bungalows, storybook cottages, Spanish style haciendas, an occasional purple house and young naked guy on a rope swing (I’ve only seen this once in 30 years), breathtaking city views, Norman Rockwell storefronts, amazing restaurants with every type of food one can imagine . . . and a world class university. Berkeley’s quaint New England feel is more well known than most people realize, it recently gleaned the distinction for being the number one zip code where home sellers are getting more than their asking price (I’m convinced this is because I want to buy a house there, but I guess it’s because lots of people want to buy a house there). Tony and I were married in Berkeley, and I graduated from Cal which is something I am extremely proud of because I was told by a variety of elementary school, middle school, high school, and junior college “educators” that I wasn’t “college material,” but my roots in Berkeley go deeper than my college years; my parents met at Cal so technically I was sort of “made” there.
Back to Paul . . . his performance was incredible – the range of music completely in sync with the range of people in the audience. Sitting on the tiered cement benches around us (cement benches made the 4.2 earthquake that night especially jolting): a man in his eighties at the end of our row who started the “wave” of hands reaching for and clasping my arm firmly as I made my way to my seat (I happily accepted their help and realized as I moved along the dark bench, arm to arm, that this was the closest I would ever come to crowd surfing – I hope), two pairs of 30-somethings sitting in front of us discussing how nice it was to be out without their kids (the kids they talked about all night until they went down to dance in front of the stage during Paul’s Bluegrass set), plenty of middle-aged people like me who knew every word to My Little Town (I used to fall asleep to it turned down really low – no headphones – on my baby blue radio next to my pillow along with Killing Me Softly and That’s the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia) and slightly older middle-aged people like Tony who listened to Paul Simon for the first time as boy in the Sixties, but came to the concert to hear the African influenced music from the Graceland (I’ve heard Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes coming from Tony’s computer at least 10 times this morning) album that came out in the Eighties, and a the young woman in the knitted ski cap screaming “I love you Paul” while he sang Here Comes the Sun who may or may not have heard the original version in her lifetime (she may be the person who posted the YouTube videos below “punkassbitch” – nope, just checked pab’s Web site and he or she has definitely heard of George Harrison).
It was a great Berkeley night.
Links to Concert:
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Before the “come back:”
Bridge Over Troubled Water