Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park

November 25 at 9:30pm on ThinkTV16

On July 15, 2012, Paul Simon and his musicians headlined the closing night of the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London’s Hyde Park. Simon’s epic career-spanning set list included Simon & Garfunkel classics, solo favorites and much more. Both immediate and retrospective, the three-hour set took a rapt audience through his extensive repertoire, from “The Sound of Silence” and “The Boxer” to “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and “Late in the Evening.” The performance also featured vibrant renditions of “You Can Call Me Al” and “The Boy in the Bubble” in honor of the 25th anniversary of his landmark Grammy-winning album Graceland.

A highlight of the evening was the historic reunion with the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and many of the musicians who played on Graceland. While a cultural boycott against South Africa caused a great deal of controversy when Graceland was first released (especially when Simon dared to break the boycott by recruiting many of these musicians for his live band at the time), the subsequent end of apartheid had allowed Graceland to be seen as an exciting synthesis of world music influences through Simon’s skilled pop-rock sensibilities.

Simon’s concert in Hyde Park was praised by The Guardian as “one of the landmark concerts of his career.” The Daily Telegraph said: “The night was a chance for those of us who grew up listening to Paul Simon to congregate, commune and be reminded again of music’s ability to transport us to a land of grace.”