The songs of Paul Simon are embedded in all of us – The Sound of Silence, Homeward Bound, The Boxer, and of course Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Gary Edward Jones turn musical shaman as he draws Paul Simon classics from our very souls, in the almost mystical surroundings of the Assembly Rooms George Street Spiegeltent. Perhaps the only things missing are giant beanbags and joss sticks to make this a truly heavenly experience.
There is no doubt that Jones has an innate talent for relaxing his audience – his measured, almost whispered, hypnotic delivery and his great stillness anchor him in front of a rapt audience. You could see this retelling working equally well – perhaps even better – in a church. There is a reverence here, and it is not lost.
Having spent twenty years as a singer-songwriter in Liverpool, Jones’s love of all things Simon, he admits happened later in life than most, but when it hit it did so like a revelation. Two years of intense study later he had created The Paul Simon Story.
The Story charts Simons’ travels around Europe and England as a romantic traveling troubadour, busking as he went. Allegedly writing Homeward Bound on a lonely Widnes train station platform…perhaps? Onwards to chance meetings that had profound effects, most notably perhaps that of Art Garfunkel, with whom he had a long on-off turbulent musical relationship.
And so, the Story moves on to his later career and the defining album ‘Graceland’, a wonderful example of cultural exchange and the final remodelling of Simon as an artist.
Five years on from its creation The Paul Simon Story is a beautifully polished product, smooth and rounded like a beach pebble. Perfect.
Be in no doubt, this is a timeless show, that will stand the test of time. As long as Jones is around, this will be around. Others may come, but the barrier to entry is high and Jones can be reassured that few will come up to this mark.
Running time – 60 mins
Playing until 18 August, further information and tickets can be found HERE.
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 7th August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★