It doesn't seem like a union that would work. Paul Simon, the introspective singer-songwriter known for pop classics from "The Sound of Silence" to "Graceland," trading harmonies with Sting, MTV-friendly frontman of the Police known for rafter-rattling vocals and jazz-tinged world music. On Sunday at Amway Center, the duo even looked like an odd couple: The diminutive, balding Simon next to the lanky rock star with the angular features. Musically, however, the concept was inspired. For a spirited, skillfully executed 2-1/2 hours, the two men showed the potential of artful sharing, unveiling nuances in familiar hits, nudging material into new directions and mingling resources of two bands loaded with top-notch musicians...
Even the T-shirts at the memorabilia counter reflect the respect Sting and Paul Simon have for each other. One shirt reads "Paul Simon and Sting, On Stage Together." A second flips the billing, with "Sting and Paul Simon, On Stage Together." This is a clear musical bro-mance, sparked by a concert in New York last May with the two Central Park West. Then followed their grand idea - "let's tour together!" - and that tour stopped at the BB&T Center Sunrise Saturday night. OK, we get it. Sting will be his bodyguard, Simon will be his long-lost pal. The pairing also a.) pools their audiences and b.) puts them in a large arena, under the name of traveling down the same musical path. Hey, business is business. They're not here to be cartoons in a cartoon graveyard...
They were an odd couple, standing together on stage in a massive arena. A 62-year-old man whose physique is better than many half his age towered over his collaborator, a somewhat frumpy looking 72-year-old who wore a fedora to mask his "thinning brown hair." While it may have been unexpected for Sting and Paul Simon to join forces for a tour, it's no surprise that this pairing resulted in a fantastic concert. After all, they have over 100 years of music making between them, not to mention the fact that these men composed some of the most enduring songs of the 20th century...
Paul Simon and Sting have spent a good part of the winter on stages together. By reputation, to find a roadshow packed with more ego you'd have to go back to, well, a Simon and Garfunkel tour. But these two folk/pop/new-wave/world-beat legends, who have about 135 years and record sales in the hundreds of millions between them, checked their self-importance at the door at Strathmore Music Hall on Wednesday. Simon and Sting abbreviated and deviated from their standard act for charity, specifically to help raise funds for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. The high-wattage bill in the ornate but intimate hall was supposed to pack even more power: An Ellington official announced from the stage just before showtime that Stevie Wonder, who was listed on the cover of the concert's program, backed out at the last minute because of a death in the family. The official said the event raised $1.2 million for the public school, a training ground for young entertainers and artists that opened in Georgetown in 1974...
Less than a week to go on Sting & Paul Simon's On Stage Together tour! The latest video captured on the road features the "drummer's drummer," Vinnie Colaiuta. Check out a preview here and then login as a member for the full 4-minute video.
If you entered the back of the Giant Center Sunday night, then listened and squinted toward the stage, you might have thought you'd been transported back to the 1960s. There's diminutive music icon Paul Simon, singing in harmony with a tall guy. But that taller guy is playing the bass. And his name is Sting. The two musical icons performed mostly separately, and momentarily together, during the Hershey stop on their minimalistically named the "On Stage Together" tour before a large and appreciative crowd. In that crowd, hands swayed, fannies shook and couples snuggled, ensconced in nostalgia that spanned two famous singer-songwriters' oeuvres from the '70s through the early years of the new millennium...
It's one thing for two longtime stars to share a double bill that pools their audiences and lets them play larger places. It's another to do what Paul Simon and Sting are doing on their arena tour together: actually to team up for about one-third of the concert, sharing songs and mingling the 14 backup musicians from their bands, displaying mutual respect without undue deference. (The tour has two T-shirts: one that reads "Paul Simon & Sting on Stage Together," the other vice versa.) On Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, where the tour returns on Thursday, the pairing loosened up two ambitious songwriters whose perfectionism has earned them long careers, shaking up their neat routines. As they rotated on and offstage, singing together between minisets with their own bands, they revealed both their kinship and their differences. And now and then, they played comedy team...
Narrative 4, a global non-profit launched last year by Sting and several other international artists, has begun a Crowdrise campaign. N4 works to build empathy through the exchange of stories. Already the organisation has worked with thousands of kids from schools in Chicago, Limerick and Newtown Connecticut. They will be expanding soon into Haiti, Israel, South Africa, Mexico and other countries. "What we're trying to do is expand the lungs of the world by having young people step into one another's shoes," says co-founder and author Colum McCann. "We're engaging in that essential democracy of story-telling. Stories are the one thing that cannot be taken away from us. Sting and Trudie have been a tremendous help this past year. It's fantastic to have artists of their calibre onboard. Indeed, we've harnessed a whole lot of good energy from artists all around the world, including JJ Abrams, Ishmael Beah, Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Byrne. And our Crowdrise campaign is designed to continue getting the word out. That word is empathy." http://www.crowdrise.com/narrative4/fundraiser/colummccann
"Welcome to our little experiment," Paul Simon said early on at his co-headlining show with Sting at New York's Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. "We're putting two bands together, two repertoires together, having two singers sing. As the tour comes towards its conclusion and the bands blend and merge more, I expect we will become more and more alike. I personally feel I will be more Adonis-like in appearance and be able to have sex for days on end. Sting should be anticipating some changes as well..."
They are not the most obvious tour mates, a decade separating them in age and an even wider gulf in genre dividing their respective catalogs. None of that was lost on Paul Simon and Sting when they came to TD Garden Monday night. If anything, their differences were a badge of honor, proof that good music and excellent musicians playing it transcend boundaries. "Welcome to our merging of two bands, two different repertoires, and two different singers who sound pretty good, actually," Simon said early in the evening, with an arch of his eyebrow that suggested that even he was a little surprised by their chemistry. If Simon and Sting share anything, it is the fact that they have given pop music some of its most infectious hits, which rang out in thunderous unison at the Garden...
On his last visit to Toronto, Paul Simon invited an astonished woman on stage from the audience at Sound Academy, where the novice singer-guitarist performed her hero's Duncan with encouragement and help - "E minor," he reportedly whispered to her - from the man himself. This time around, the Simon of Simon and Garfunkel shared a larger stage with an established artist: Sting, the milkman's son whose birth certificate reads "Gordon Sumner" and who rise to fame as the leader of the tricky rock trio The Police. The results were just as charming (albeit more professional), and, at the end, there was little doubt as to the pecking order of the evening. The first song was Brand New Day; the last was Late in the Evening. Everything fit into place, smiles were in long supply and the practised Simon gracefully taught lessons in the art of performance...
There's really no obvious reason the Simon and Sumner partnership should have worked. Unlike the highly logical tour teaming of, let's say, Elton John and Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Sting seem to share little in common. At least on paper. Simon, 72, one of the rock era's most important singer-songwriters, had already recorded a virtually flawless oeuvre with Art Garfunkel and released most of his essential solo work before Sting, 10 years younger, entered our consciousness as a New Wave rocker with the Police in 1978. Little of the erstwhile Gordon Sumner's catalogue is what one might expect Simon to wrap his own poetic sensibilities around. Nor was it easy to imagine much of an overlap between the fan bases of the two artists...
With Sting and Simon's joint On Stage Together tour at its halfway point, Paul Simon can see some discernible benefits to the collaboration. "We're becoming more like each other," he told the Wednesday night, Feb. 26, crowd at The Palace. "I personally feel I'll be more Adonislike (and will) be able to have sex for days at a time" - a reference to Sting's joking reputation for lengthy sessions of tantric amoré. Of course, Simon added, "I'm not sure I'm looking forward to that..."
Here's something you don't see everyday: Sting deferring, complementing, and hanging back. It happened Tuesday at the United Center, with the former Police bassist handling his new role as sidekick to Paul Simon with what appeared to be genuine enthusiasm. Also just in: Sting can apparently take a joke. Simon - looking for all his frumpiness like he had just emerged from a long, lazy afternoon in his man cave - glanced over at the lean, black-clad Englishman and predicted that merely by basking in the younger singer's aura, he would emerge much more "Adonis-like" at the end of their tour with unrivaled sexual energy. Sting smirked, only to later praise the New Yorker as "one of my teachers and mentors" whose songwriting talents are "humbling and inspiring."
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