'The Boxer' hangs up his gloves
Paul Simon played his final ever concert last night (September 22) in Queens, just minutes from where he grew up.
‘The Boxer’ star ended his ‘Homeward Bound’ farewell tour at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, playing a 26-strong set that ended with two separate encores.
Explaining the reason behind his decision to play his final concert in Flushing, Simon said: “It feels more like fate than coincidence that I should do the final show on the final tour at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”
He added: “I could have ridden my bike from home to the park in about 20 minutes when I was a kid. But this is less a goodbye than a farewell. Thank you all for the ride, I had a great time.” You can see fan-footage and reaction to his final gig below:
Opening with Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘America’, Simon played some of his most revered tracks during the gig including ‘The Boy in the Bubble’, ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.
The encore closed with other classics including ‘Graceland’, ‘The Boxer’ and ‘The Sound of Silence’.
Speaking earlier this year about his farewell tour, Simon said: “I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end. Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief.”
He added: “I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly. I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in their music that touched their hearts.”
Earlier in September, Simon also released a new album – ‘The Blue Light’ – to coincide with his final tour. Featuring re-worked versions of his songs through the years, the album included collaborations with artists such as Bryce Dessner and the instrumental music ensemble yMusic.
Towards the end of the gig, Simon hinted that he would be “open” to playing “one-off” performances in the future but confirmed that ‘Homeward Bound’ would be his final ever tour. You can see the set-list for the concert below:
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
The Boy in the Bubble
That Was Your Mother
Mother and Child Reunion
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (with Edie Brickell)
Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War (with yMusic)
Can’t Run But (with yMusic)
Bridge Over Troubled Water (with yMusic)
The Obvious Child
Questions for the Angels
The Cool, Cool River
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al
Late in the Evening
Still Crazy After All These Years
The Sound of Silence