Skinny jeans and funny sidekick/ Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler
Paul Simon had the funnier jokes, Sting had the skinnier jeans and Simon had the better sound system or sound engineer or just plain luck.
As my review detailed, Sting was sabotaged by static in the sound system Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center. Don’t know if he and Simon were operating on different systems or what, as various band members came and went along with their bandleaders. But Simon did comment late in the evening about Sting’s sound system. And apparently the Stingmeister couldn’t wing it without his full complement of players and instruments.
Simon, on the other hand, showed that, at heart, he’s a singer with an acoustic guitar. However, he started “The Obvious Child” and then halted the band mid-way through the first verse. He apologized for his mistake (he didn’t give details) and then started it over from the top.
Because of the sound problems, Sting and Simon did deviate from their planned set list. In fact, Sting cut two full tunes and parts of two others.
Certainly fans – the arena was only half full -- could quarrel with some of the selections -- or omissions. These two heroes have deep catalogs, but with the merged bands (14 backup musicians) the rehearsed joint songs were probably limited. However, with the individual bands, the potential repertoire was substantailly greater.
One might question why Simon did the early rock classic “Mystery Train” followed by the Chet Atkins’ guitar instrumental “Wheels” instead of one or two of his own numbers. For the record, “Mrs. Robinson” was played post-concert – a version by Frank Sinatra, complete with big band and strings – as the audience exited.
Props to Sting for doing a commendable job in the role of Art Garfunkel on the S&G classics at the end of concert.
Here is what Sting and Simon played Sunday:
Simon & Sting: Brand New Day/ Boy in the Bubble/Fields of Gold
Sting: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic/ Englishman in New York/ I Hung My Head/ Driven To Tears/ Walking on the Moon
Simon & Sting: Mother and Child Reunion
Simon: 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover/ Dazzling Blue/ Graceland/ Still Crazy After All These Years/ Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
Simon & Sting: Fragile
Sting: America/ Message in a Bottle/ The Hounds of Winter/ Roxanne
Sting & Simon: When Will I Be Loved
Simon: That Was Your Mother/ Hearts & Bones/ Mystery Train/ Wheels/ The Obvious Child/ Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes/ You Can Call Me Al
ENCORE Sting & Simon: Bridge Over Troubled Water/ Late in the Evening/ The Boxer