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Producer Michael Dorf is well-known for his annual tribute concerts and it was only a matter of time until Paul Simon was given such an honor.
Monday night’s celebration called for numerous tribute performances of Simon’s work at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan which doubled as a benefit for music education, according to Rolling Stone.
The 23-song setlist that spanned over two hours, highlighting the 50-plus-year career that Simon has had. Gibby Haynes and Bob Forrest took it way back to the times of 1962’s hit, “Motorcycle,” while Ben Sollee performed a gripping version of “Wartime Prayer.”
Although few commentaries were there, Josh Ritter told a memory of his dad handing him a Simon cassette tape and telling him Simon was the "greatest artist of [his] generation." Heart’s Ann Wilson tenderly recalled dropping acid and listening to Bookends during her college career.
Most of the set zeroed in on Simon’s hits from the late '60s with Art Garfunkel and some of his solo records from the '70s and '80s. The evening began with a large selection of Simon & Garfunkel iconic classics performed by Judy Collins, Joe Henry and Joy Williams, notes AM New York.
More of Simon’s expansive work was covered during the second half of the set which took songs from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon and Still Crazy After All These Years. Ritter, who performed “Duncan,” and Brett Dennen who performed “Something So Right,” posed as the perfect artists to perform the songs.
Bettye Layvette and Sam Moore, staples in the R&B community performed “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" and Sam Moore "Loves Me Like A Rock" turned the Simon tunes into thrilling performances. Bob Mould, who performed “Fakin' It” and John Doe, who performed Simon classic “Mrs. Robinson” transformed the lovely tunes into punk stylings.
Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo closed the show and brought the crowd to their feet for the first and last time of the entire show, with her bone-chilling version of "You Can Call Me Al.”
All performers joined together on stage for the encore—an entertaining and jubilant version of "The 59th Street Bridge Song." Anne Wilson said, “We love Paul Simon, he’s a renaissance man,” as everyone took their final bows and honored the great music Simon contributed to the world.