Austin City Limits launches a new season of must-see performances from music’s finest with an icon of American popular music, Paul Simon, in his first-ever appearance on the ACL stage. The living legend shines in a sublime, career-spanning hour featuring beloved classics and new songs from his acclaimed recent album, Stranger to Stranger.
Making a rare television appearance, Simon sparkles in an irresistible performance filled with career highlights from his over five-decade strong musical legacy. Backed by a world-class nine-piece band, the music legend opens an eleven-song set with selections from Graceland, his landmark 1986 album that brought African rhythms to mainstream American radio. A lifelong sonic adventurer, Simon takes viewers to Louisiana Cajun country for a joyful performance of “That Was Your Mother.” Simon also showcases new classics from 2016’s acclaimed Stranger to Stranger, his 13th solo album, including standouts “Wristband” and “The Werewolf.” Simon’s showmanship is on full display throughout as he dazzles the ACL audience with non-stop gems from his extensive catalog, including early solo hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and a stripped-down, countrified “Homeward Bound.” He dips back into his Graceland songbook for “Diamonds On the Soles Of Her Shoes,” and a show-stopping “You Can Call Me Al,” engaging the crowd in hand-clapped rhythm. Simon closes with one last classic, “The Sound of Silence,” in a potent solo acoustic rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel standard that first introduced his immense talent to the world a half-century ago.
“Paul Simon is one of those rarities among the icons of contemporary music: he just keeps getting better,” says Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona. “He continues to amaze with new songs that display his musical curiosity and sense of adventure, while bringing a fresh energy to songs that have been such a big part of the American songbook for so many decades. As an admitted long-time ACL fan, he was perfectly at home on our stage, and it shows!”
Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Tune in next week for another brand new episode featuring James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens.