Review: Paul Simon at Hyde Park
Simon’s appeal transcends the generations at Graceland anniversary gig
Paul Simon was joined on stage by a roster of star guests as he played to 50,000 fans at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, his first UK gig for several years.
The set featured guest turns by reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the choral group that rose to fame singing with Simon on his legendary Graceland album.
The 70-year-old singer first toured the UK with Graceland 25 years ago; inspired by South African township music, it was accused of breaching a cultural boycott targeted at the apartheid regime.
The record was nonetheless given credit for showcasing music by black South Africans and became Simon’s most acclaimed and successful album.
You may also want to watch:
Gig-goers on Sunday were miraculously spared any hint of London’s recent stormy weather as Simon began with a few early classics, including a jazzed up version of ‘50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’, followed by performances from Cliff and Masekela, who played with and without Simon.
The set was a slow burner and the crowd took a little while to get warmed up; but people really got moving once Simon and his band moved on to songs from Graceland, backed by a fresh burst of evening sun.
- 1 'Extreme' noise complaint as 150 gather for Islington party
- 2 Statue of Philip Noel-Baker replaced in Islington after 35 years
- 3 Meet the owner of the Camden Passage shop window where nothing is for sale
- 4 New Lidl to open in Finsbury Park's Arts Building next week
- 5 Elderly woman robbed of precious watch in daylight Finsbury Park incident
- 6 'We can do better': Islington Society calls for rethink on Barnard Park plans
- 7 Mum-of-two 'loses everything' in Islington fire
- 8 Two men jailed for life after double murder
- 9 What do smoking and People Friendly Streets have in common?
- 10 New pub opens in place of The Monarch in Chalk Farm Road
The set closed a retro rock festival headlined on earlier days by Soundgarden and Bruce Springsteen. More than any, Paul Simon possesses multi-generational appeal, evidenced by the number of teens and Gen-Xers in the epic crowd. If singalong levels are anything to go by, the hit of the day was Graceland lead single ‘You Can Call Me Al’ – an appealing song whether or not you have vivid memories of its 1986 release. Four stars.
* Paul Simon performed at the Hard Rock Calling festival in Hyde Park on Sunday, July 15.