An open letter to Saul Rayo – an outsider’s view of the “Tribute to Paul Simon:”
Although it seemed as if you knew most of the audience at your Paul Simon tribute at the Center for the Arts Friday night, we haven’t met.
I felt a little like a stranger in a strange land at the event, which looked a lot like some Grateful Dead concert, circa 1972. I briefly wondered if I would enjoy the show, since I am an older, if not wiser, grandmother these days.
It opened with you introducing your daughters, who were so sweet and obviously excited to be on stage. When you began to sing, alone on a stool with your guitar, it was reminiscent of Paul Simon’s solo beginnings. Soon I forgot I was sitting in a plastic chair surrounded by more tie dye than a clothes rack at Tribal Weaver. It became about the music, which was grand. And the song selection, which was inspired. And the energy, which was magical.
When you took the stage with your son, Cole, it was obvious that you two have traveled that long road that parents take when they are engaged with their children on as many levels as possible. To see you two make eye contact, or nod, told of a complex relationship that may not have always been easy but was always worth it. You told the audience he keeps you honest, but I suspect that street runs both ways as you both get older. It was a treat to see you and Cole harmonizing together, imagining that you were once his age and wondering if you would have had the courage of such a bold move at that age.
With each musician you interacted with, you were humble, kind and encouraging. Without words being spoken, the love between the musicians, singers and dancers on stage was apparent. It was fun, this group making music, and it helped to make those of us in the audience feel like we were in your living room, silently watching a bunch of talented friends hanging out on a Friday night.
As I scanned the performers on stage, I was also struck by their diverse interests in the community. Michael Bankston, from Foxfire, was playing in the horn section. Nory Fussell, yogi, masseur and deep ecology student, played guitar and sang like an angel. And there was Loraine Webb, Peace Center activist, as a backup singer. Who knew?
Thanks, Saul, for a great evening!
Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by email at email@example.com, or by fax at 477-4292.
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