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Paul Simon skips 'You Can Call Me Al' on current tour



Paul Simon/Times photo by Dirk Shadd

You can call him AWOL. You Can Call Me Al was Paul Simon's first hit off 1986's Graceland album, eventually cracking the Top 25 charts in the U.S. (and much higher overseas), but it's not on the setlist of his current tour, which stopped last night at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Why? It's not really clear, other than Simon spent a lot of the night working fresher material from his new album So Beautiful So What. And even with two hours of stagetime, there's a lot of time and tunes to cover. He did play FIVE other songs off Graceland -- Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Graceland, Gumboots, That Was Your Mother, The Boy in the Bubble. So the omission of a fan favorite like You Can Call Me Al was a little glaring.

Also missing: The Boxer, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Cecilia, Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard. But this is an '80s blog, so we'll worry about Al. I couldn't find an answer in any of the reviews written so far. Maybe he realizes he'll play it enough times in 2012, when Simon heads back out on the road for the 25th anniversary of Graceland. (Actually, 26th, but who's counting.) Or maybe it doesn't make his personal list of his 22 or 23 favorite songs to play live.

The bottom line: Simon has earned the right 10 times over to pick and play whatever songs he chooses in concert. If I'd had a chance to talk to him, sure, I'd have asked how he choose those two dozen tunes for last night, and ask about Al. My guess? He'd fire off a short quip and just smile. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 9:32am]


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