During his almost 50-year career, singer-songwriter Paul Simon has already released two live recordings, two boxed sets and nine compilations. Should you make room on your shelf for one more?
Live In New York City, is a two CD/one DVD set that captures Simon, still rhymin’, at 70. The disc live set opens with “The Obvious Child,” a song Simon hadn’t played live on stage for years until his 2011 tour. Originally found on his 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints, “The Obvious Child” is a fine start to a 90-minute collection that includes songs from throughout Simon’s long career - all the way from “Sounds of Silence” to his most recent effort, “So Beautiful or So What.”
Four songs from that 2011 release reside here, including “Rewrite,” a song with a story as vivid as any Paul Simon has written.
The first of the two discs of Live in New York City isn’t just home to recent Paul Simon songs - you’ll also find new versions of classics including “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Slip Sliding Away” and “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” in the first half of the show.
The second of the two CDs contains fewer songs from the last few albums and more “classics” like “Kodachrome,” “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes” and “The Only Living Boy in New York,” a song dating back to the final Simon and Garfunkel studio recording.
It’s a treat to hear Paul Simon revive an old tune like that one, even if it is at the expense of having to leave out others like “Graceland” or “You Can Call Me Al.” But as with any artist who’s had as long and as rich a career as Paul Simon, there just isn’t room to squeeze every song onto every live recording.
You can purchase Live In New York City three ways: as a double-CD set, as a live concert DVD, or in a package that includes both the live discs and the live DVD. It’s beautifully shot, sounds great, and as you might expect, the show focuses on old school musicianship from Simon and his incredible band, not pyrotechnics, or backup dancers. This collection shows that at 70, Paul Simon is playing and creating music with the same energy and vitality that he did at 25.