James Taylor, Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma have been on "A Prairie Home Companion." But on Saturday, Paul Simon became the biggest-name musical guest in 40-plus years of Garrison Keillor's radio program. With the boss on hiatus writing, host-in-waiting Chris Thile became suitably in awe at the Fitzgerald Theater. When Thile started talking to Simon after they'd performed "Gone at Last," Thile's voice suddenly got high. So Simon needled him by responding with a playfully high voice.
There was no joking when it came to the music. Simon dusted off 1972's "Duncan," offered "Rewrite" (from his most recent album, 2011's "So Beautiful or So What") and delivered a world premiere of "Wristband," a humorous ditty about not getting backstage access without the proper wristband even though he was the concert's headliner. Thile, his band, the Punch Brothers, plus guests Sarah Jarosz and Andrew Bird as well as "Prairie Home" music director/keyboardist Rich Dworsky, accompanied Simon. Bird, known for his fiddling and whistling, even took a whistling solo on "The Boxer."
When the two-hour broadcast was over, a stoked Thile coaxed Simon into an encore for the Fitzgerald crowd. "This is as unrehearsed as the rest of the stuff," said Simon, casually dressed in jeans, an open shirt over a T-shirt and a fedora. The ensemble treated the crowd to "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
Beyoncé coming to the Bank on tour
After her cameo halftime appearance at the Super Bowl Sunday, Beyoncé announced a 40-date spring/summer tour that includes a concert May 23 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Pre-sale tickets to American Express card holders will be available Feb. 15. Other tickets will go on sale Feb. 22. Prices were not announced. Without warning, Beyoncé released a new single and video for the song "Formation" on Saturday. Of late, she likes to surprise her fans, such as when her 2013 " Beyoncé" album arrived on iTunes with no advance announcements. She last performed in the Twin Cities in July 2013 at Xcel Energy Center.
Sanders On 'SNL': Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live," appearing in a skit with host Larry David, the comic who has done a dead-on impersonation of him. The NBC comedy show resisted the temptation to have the Vermont U.S. senator appear next to David as he was playing him, however. Sanders portrayed a passenger on an endangered ship who argued with David about who should be allowed on a lifeboat. Sanders is the third presidential candidate to appear on "SNL" this season. Fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton made an appearance last fall, and Republican Donald Trump hosted in November.