[MUSIC/Folk ~ UK]
Masonic – Phoenix Room at Gluttony – Masonic Lodge North Terrace, Thu 20 Feb.
Dan Clews was in town at last year’s Fringe to present The James Taylor Story, an insightful and entertaining summary of Taylor’s life and music. But how to present the Paul Simon story in an hour? It is, after all, a complex story, and for much of his solo career he played with large numbers of people on stage. How can Dan Clews pull this off?
The Simon & Garfunkel stage of Simon’s career is covered successfully enough by Dan with just his guitar. The expected songs are there – The Sound Of Silence, Cathy’s Song, Homeward Bound, The Boxer. Dan is a singer and songwriter himself, who makes no attempt to imitate his subject. It’s just that his natural style is a little similar to James Taylor, which meant that at last year’s show you could close your eyes and at times almost hear James Taylor. This year it was a little like James Taylor singing Paul Simon, to the extent that during his rendition of American Tune (after asking the audience whether they’d rather hear that or Song For The Asking) I was struck with the thought that James Taylor could have had a monster hit with this song!!
Dan answers my second question by bringing out a four piece band for the solo Paul Simon songs. Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Graceland, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes, You Can Call Me Al. James Taylor comparisons fall away as the band rip into the material with enthusiasm. Dan Clew’s love of the Graceland album is very evident (“My favourite album of all time…..by my favourite artist”) and his beaming smiles while performing the Graceland material are infectious.
At least we know that the performer on stage in not just going through the motions. And his international band, sourced from various parts of the globe, is able to convey the multicultural flavour of Simon’s music. I’m not so convinced that the audience singalongs reach the standard of Ladysmith Black Mambazo!… but smiles on the faces of the audience as they walk out afterwards suggest that they have had a rather enjoyable Experience.
The Paul Simon Experience continues at Masonic – Phoenix Room at Gluttony – Masonic Lodge North Terrace from 6pm until Sun 1 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
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