Paul Simon Shares the Spotlight With a Nervous Fan at Toronto Concert
On May 16, a little more than 24 hours after appearing on Saturday Night Live with surprise guest Lindsey Buckingham, Paul Simon was back on the road, continuing the series of intimate shows supporting his current album 'So Beautiful or So What with a two-night stand in Chicago.
Simon granted a rare 30 minute interview to longtime Chicago radio personality Lin Brehmer after soundchecking in preparation for the second night. The pair conversed about a number of subjects, from Simon playing baseball in his formative years to the current state of the music industry.
Expressing his love for the venues that he's playing on this special tour, Simon said that the smaller venues bring a different flavor to their shows because of the “looser atmosphere” and ability for people to dance. Calling the experience “a pleasure as a musician,” Simon feels that his shows in the theater environment have a tendency to be more “rhythmic.”
Simon's recent Toronto show went viral on Youtube, thanks to a woman in the audience who was invited on stage by Simon to play guitar and sing with the band. Elaborating on the experience, Simon shared how the heartwarming incident involving Toronto area music fan Rayna Ford came about.
“You know, that's the kind of thing I would have done lots of times. It's the club – everything is so loose there. She was calling out to play 'Duncan,' which we weren't going to play. So then I said 'oh, okay, we'll play Duncan.' And then she said 'I learned to play the guitar on Duncan,' so I said 'oh really? Well come on up and play it!' Which felt like 'well this will be fun!'"
“I never thought that she'd be able to actually do it – she was literally shaking," Simon continues. "But then, she kind of tore into it and the band picked it up. Her joy at standing up there and doing it, you can feel it in your heart when you watch the Youtube [video]. So in a way it was just the infectiousness of how thrilled she was to be standing up there in front of everybody, playing with the band. She kept looking around at me and I kept saying 'yeah, go on, sing the next verse, go ahead, go ahead!'
The entire Paul Simon interview can be streamed on demand via this link.
Watch Paul Simon and Rayna Ford perform 'Duncan'