Paul Simon: Live From Philadelphia (Eagle Vision)
Billed as “Greatest Hits Live,” this is actually slightly less than hour of a 1980 concert shot at Philadelphia’s historic Tower Theater, and a little more than half of it is what would have qualified as his greatest hits then—but it’s all good stuff. For that tour, Simon was plugging his then-current movie and album, One Trick Pony, and playing with a small, top-notch band of session pros: Steve Gadd on drums, Eric Gale on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Richard Tee on piano, Peter Levin on synth, and (on some tracks) a four-piece horn section. The groovalicious “Late in the Evening” would become the classic from that film/album, but it’s also fun to hear a couple of the lesser-known tracks, such as the lovely ballad “Jonah” and the funky “Ace in the Hole.” The “hits” include spirited workouts on “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “American Tune,” “The Boxer” and the set-closing “The Sound of Silence,” beautifully performed solo by Simon. The quiet gem of the collection, though, may be “Something So Right” (from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon). There are no bonus features or program notes, but the audio and video production is outstanding, and the still-youthful Simon’s winning personality and depth as a songwriter shine throughout.
Producers: Phil Ramone and Michael Tannen. Music produced by Ramone. Audio: Brain Ruggles.
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