Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paul Simon in Israel

I had to get away from all this horrid male energy. It was like every male in my family thought they were right ranging from my 4 year old grandson who was screaming in the elevator and we're like "Why are you screaming?".  He tells us, "I'm not screening!!!" surprised at our accusation, to hubby who was sitting comfortably in his chair on Friday night, while we were all sweating profusely. The air conditioner was on at its lowest setting and blowing warm air out.  We're all telling him it's not working and he's sitting there looking like the man from the Mr. Clean bottle, with his hands across his chest, telling us that it's fine, it's working and there's nothing wrong with it.  It's just that we're on the top floor and that's why it's spewing warm air.  I didn't buy that ruse and told him I'll get a professional to look at it myself.  He is totally insulted at the audacity of thinking that he might be wrong and leaves the table.


No better place to flee to, than a concert from an American superstar in Tel Aviv.  I'm about to go to see Paul Simon concert in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park.  The hot sauna weather in Tel Aviv doesn't bother me anymore.  My friend from New York tells me she met him once in the 70s and he was rude.  I listened to his latest album and I felt that he was more spiritual these days.  I tell my friend that many were obnoxious when they were younger, especially in the 70s, but that he must have mellowed out with age.  Surely he can't be like the men in my family.

I get on the bus to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem and get to the train station in Tel Aviv - the quickest way to the stadium.  I'm wiping gum off my ass that someone left on the bus seat and I hadn't noticed when I first sat down, as I'm running to catch a train the ticket woman says is leaving in two minutes.    I sought refuge in the beautiful Ayalon Mall right next to the stadium.  I never knew this mall existed and I discovered  it was an air-conditioned haven for most of the concert goers who did not want to sit out in the heat an hour before the concert started.

My friend, with whom I bought the tickets, had just landed from a trip to the US, 2 1/2 hours before the concert began and had one of her kids drive her to the stadium straight from the airport.  Half hour before the show, we ventured bravely out into the Tel Aviv humidity and went to our spots.  We found that though we bought the cheapest seats, we weren't too far from the stage because the stage was situated in the middle of the stadium rather than the far end.  We splurged for expensive beers.   Though the heat is unbearable no one is allowed into the stadium with water.  Strange and horrible rule, but the cold beer did the trick.

"Do you want to hear the setlist?"  I asked my friend.

"You have the setlist?  No, I don't want to hear it.  It's like knowing what you're gonna have before you give birth."

Once Paul came on with his band - I think he won the audience over immediately.  The band was terrific and he was in tip top shape.  I was surprised that he doesn't sound any older than he did 40 years ago, the way other singers do.  Even Paul McCartney can't reach those high notes any longer.  Paul Simon launched into Slip Sliding Away in the middle of the set.

"This is sorta like Hatikva, isn't it?"  my friend noted.  I nodded.  Sort of.  An iconic song it was, but once he came back for his encore and began with a beautiful solo of Sounds of Silence, I said to my friend - "Now THAT's Hatikva!!"  If the crowd was polite and laid back until now, they were really getting into his renditions of that and Here Comes the Sun, which he sang as if it were his own song. When he sang You Can Call Me Al, it seemed as if everyone in the stadium got up to sing and dance.  The Boxer was the last song and he sang it as a prayer for peace in our region addressing us with a Shalom Aleichem and Salaam Aleikum.  He seemed grateful for the show of appreciation from the audience and I must say, it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I've ever gone to.

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