Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together

Geelong, Victoria, AU
Mt Duneed Estate
Perfect harmony from master craftsmen...

It can be an incredible thing to feel one master craftsman's song resonate in the lungs of another. When Sting sang Paul Simon's 'America', it was with none of the baggage of expectation or jadedness or perceived nationalism or God knows what else the writer might have to carry.

In its place was the unqualified affection and gratitude shared by every soul who had ever felt its naive hope and aching emptiness define a piece of their lives. That is to say, pretty much all 15,000 of us sprawling up the slope of a hill just outside Geelong.

When Simon sang Sting's 'Fragile', there was a slightly different kind of empathy at play: the recognition of a tragic condition that echoes without relief through generations, and the older's man's respect for the kind of craft that brings it ever more clearly to light.

But hey. The two singer-songwriters' inspired pairing wasn't all back scratching and soul mining. Far from it. The sheer exuberance of their "successful experiment", as Simon called it, was as big as the 17-piece band they had combined, apparently with the brief to feature one of every instrument known to humanity.

The two singers, their voices equally miraculously intact from top to bottom, traded verses on 'Brand New Day' and 'The Boy In the Bubble', and played side by side on 'Every Breath You Take' and 'The Boxer', in which Sting graciously submitted to the most pedestrian bass line of his career to relish the lie-lie-lies of the chorus.

Just as often they bowed out to watch each other from the sidelines. Sting's brackets were generous with Police tunes - 'So Lonely', 'Walking On the Moon', 'Message in a Bottl'e - although the staggering musicianship of the vast, morphing ensemble doubtless gave him more joy than the strictures his old band might have entailed.

From 'Cecilia' to '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover' to the undimmed excellence of his latest work, Simon was arguably more spoilt for choice. 'Graceland' selections loomed large, with all percussive intricacies and quicksilver wordplay tumbling. 'Dazzling Blue' reminded us he's anything but spent as a balladeer.

The wide embrace is the common thread, of course, that makes these two giants of pop history gel. Few have brought so many disparate musical cultures so deftly into the mainstream. Middle eastern swirls entwined with African and South American strains. 'Roxanne' segued seamlessly into Bill Withers; 'Hearts and Bones' into Chet Atkins and Junior Parker.

In the end, Sting sang 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' like he'd been doing it all his life and managed to own its indelible message of unity and comfort for all of us and everyone, everywhere, while making it look as as easy as spreading his arms.

(c) Sydney Morning Herald by Michael Dwyer

Paul Simon & Sting Together Is A Must See...

Seeing Paul Simon & Sting together is a one in a lifetime must see event.

The performance of classic songs by the two legends who created them done solo, together, some Simon by Sting, some Sting by Simon, is a rare opportunity to see and hear unique arrangements for the first and possibly last time ever.

The conception of Sting & Paul Simon On Stage Together Tour was conceived through Live Nation in Australia initially as an event for Paul Kelly & Neil Finn. That combination created such a distinctive event that the format was presented to Sting and Paul Simon who ran with the idea and took the concept to an international level. Now this Australian-born idea has returned to Australia.

Music fans in Victoria were presented to this historic musical pairing in the exceptional environment of the My Duneed Estate near Geelong as part of the A Day On The Green summer series of 2015. 15,000 fans at this outdoor event were treated to some of the greatest songs ever written to a backdrop of a regional Victorian sunset.

Both Sting and Paul Simon not only delivered their solo greatest hits but also their hits with The Police and Simon & Garfunkel. Fans were treated to a glimpse of the influence these two people had on each other with Sting performing Simon & Garfunkel’s 'America' and Paul Simon doing most of the lead vocal on Sting's 'Fragile'.

Serious fans were treated to deeper cuts like 'The Hounds of Winter' and 'The End of the Game' by Sting and 'That Was Your Mother' and 'The Cool Cool River' by Simon.

Both Sting and Simon had their full bands with at most times a full 15 piece rock orchestra being created from the combined musicians with special mention to Sting’s backing singer Jo Lawry from Adelaide.

The test came with the last song 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters'. Simon does do the song on his solo shows by it never achieves the passion of the Garfunkel vocal. Sting’s high register generated the second best version of the song ever. No-one will ever improve Art Garfunkel’s original but Sting came close.

Sting & Paul Simon Together On Stage is one of those special tours that comes around once a decade or so. Treat yourself while you have the chance. You will be talking about this show for years to come.

(C) Noise11 by Paul Cashmere