THAT TIME I MET PAUL SIMON
Yes, THAT Paul Simon. Half of Simon & Garfunkel. No, not Art Garfunkel. The other half.
- •It was a few summers ago.
- •He played at Chautauqua Institute's historic amphitheater.About an hour from my house.
- •It's a cool venue because it's one of those half outdoor/half indoor type amphitheaters.
- •The show was amazing.The setting was so intimate. Stage set up like a living room. The opening act was famous poet Billy Collins and he read some of his most notable work. Then he had a sit down chat with Paul. And then Paul played a solo acoustic set of his best songs (there are so many).
- •Because it's a small venue, the back entrance (where the dressing room is) is open to the road.So, naturally, a crowd formed around the back to wait for Paul to emerge.
- •While we (the crowd) waited, I formed in my mind a quick little thing I was going to say to Paul if by chance I came face to face with him.I carefully worded what I thought would be short and succinct enough: "Hi Paul, it's an honor to me you. Your music has been a true inspiration for me and I just wanted to thank you." That was it.
- •Multiple venue officials came out every few minutes or so to say he wasn't coming out and we should all leave.A couple people left. But for the most part the crowd remained. And we waited for over an hour.
- •And then, finally, Paul emerged.His bodyguards pushed through the crowd, not allowing Paul to stop. He would turn and smile to people who engaged him to say hello, but never stopped walking.
- •Then, it was my turn.I stuck my hand out to shake his hand. He shook it. I quickly said my rehearsed message. I turned to walk away, assuming he would just keep moving on, navigating the crowd the same way he had been.
- •But then he stopped. He looked directly at me. And he said:"Oh thanks, I appreciate that. Hearing that from younger generations is always really something. Hey, let me ask you, what other types of music are you in to?"
- •And then I shit my pants.I was star struck. I had never been star struck before. I'd heard people talk about it but I didn't think it was really a thing. I was an intelligent person who would never have words fail me and could always formulate ideas. But now, I couldn't.
- •My brain ceased functioning as I just said "uhhhh" for what felt like minutes but was really only a couple seconds.I think I then spit out a couple of band names and something like "oh I listen to all sorts of stuff. I'm into a lot of genres" or some shit like that.
- •And then he responded."Cool, I recently worked with Mumford & Sons. That was interesting. Right now I'm really into some of the neo-classical style that's very prevalent in some music conservatories like Juliard…" and he just started going on about all this different music and I was blown away.
- •I stood there listening as he conversed with me, enthralled with every word.
- •Then one of his bodyguards came up and said it was time to go.And Paul said "Well, looks like I'm needed. Nice chatting". And he turned and walked straight on to the tour bus, skipping over everyone else in the crowd.
- •Easily top 5 moment in my life.
- •Ignore the dude in the back staring directly at the camera. I'm the dumb looking kid on the right in the light blue shirt. Paul is the one on the left who is Paul Simon.