At first, the Paul Simon and Sting on-stage pairing feels odd. But after the idea settles in for a while, it makes complete sense.
Turns out Sting and Paul have been close friends and neighbors for the past 25 years. They’ve been cup-of-sugar-borrowing neighbors in the same New York City building, and have bounced new projects off the other while riding in the elevator.
The Robin Hood Foundation Charity Concert event in May 2013 brought them together as a musical couple, and once they heard the audible collective gasp from the audience, they knew they were on to something big.
Sting’s still quite visible rock god persona meshes nicely with Paul’s more laid-back approach and the common thread of world music influences ties these two together.
For months, the Simon and Sting have been holed up in a New York City studio rehearsing for what is a co-headlining tour that they are calling “On Stage Together.”
Each musician plays individual sets with their own bands, but they also team up to perform a number of each other’s songs (think the Billy Joel and Elton John tour.)
Although Sting says he is not trying to channel his inner Art Garfunkel, he is taking on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” His intention is to “interpret and honor the notes and lyrics” of these iconic Simon and Garfunkel songs.
Sting personally requested the exquisite “America,” which he says reminds him of when The Police first came to these shores as a band.
Simon is taking on a few solo Sting songs such as “Fields of Gold” and “Fragile.”
On a side note, the ever-studious Sting has been doing his homework and refreshing his memory regarding the small clubs The Police initially played when they hit the U.S.
Don’t be surprised if he mentions the long-gone and legendary South Street hot spot Grendel’s Lair.
Clocking in at close to three hours with 30 or so songs, the ensemble consists of two bands with a combined 14 musicians.
At this early stage, the outline has been for both performers to come out together for a few songs, followed by a set from Sting with his band. Next, Simon comes back for another duo performance, Sting leaves and, well, you get the idea.
Expect a lot of hits and a sprinkling of deeper cuts. Sting dips into The Police catalog as well as his own rich personal repertoire. Paul Simon has plenty to choose from with crowd pleasers like “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and “You can Call me Al,” and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”
The two-month North American tour began in early February and makes a stop at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, March 7.
IF YOU GO
What: Paul Simon/Sting
Where: Wells Fargo Center
When: March 7; Doors open 7 p.m., showtime is 8 p.m.
More info: www.comcasttix.com