Taylor Swift has been blazing across the country on her Speak Now tour, and in her warm, earnest way, she’s been welcoming city-specific guests to share the stage with her while she pays unique tributes to all the towns she visits. And now, on the final leg of her tour, Taylor is in that town, New York City, and the opportunities for tributes and guests are almost endless. For her first New York show last night at Madison Square Garden, Taylor played “one of the greatest songs ever written,” The Goo Goo Dolls‘ “Iris,” with the band’s frontman Johnny Rzeznik. With one last show set to light up the Garden tonight, we’re speculating who of the New York set will join Taylor on stage. Will it be a Strokes affair? Mother Monster? Or a spectral visitor from the afterlife?
Paul Simon‘s Newark and Queens upbringing doesn’t always seem as intrinsic to his musical identity as it is for other New York City-affiliated musicians, but the songwriter’s background came to the forefront yesterday at the site where the World Trade Center stood, as he played the 1964 Simon & Garfunkel single “The Sound of Silence” for the gathered crowd. His performance was reportedly one of the most powerful moments of the September 11 memorial service, and after watching the footage above, we believe it. Simon has performed in a similar capacity before, most notably his performance of “The Boxer” as part of the tribute that opened the September 29, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Interestingly, the official program for the tenth anniversary ceremony indicated that Simon would be performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the 1970 single that was originally sung by Art Garfunkel, and which would also have been appropriate. Nevertheless Simon’s decision to sing “The Sound of Silence” instead made the performance all the more moving and memorable.
Paul Simon surprised viewers of last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when he joined percussive dance troupe STOMP for a striking rendition of his and Art Garfunkel’s 1970 single, “Cecilia.” In retrospect, the collaboration was obvious, as STOMP is perhaps uniquely suited to replicate the peculiar rhythmic charm of the original track. And the performance, to put it plainly, killed.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has emerged as the unlikely music leader in the late-night talk show game, hiring “the legendary Roots crew,” as Fallon puts it, as the show’s house band, and casting a net wide enough to include 90s DC indie-rock stalwarts Jawbox (reuniting only for the show), yacht-rocker extraordinaire Christopher Cross (with special guest Michael McDonald), teenage-riot horrorcore rappers Odd Future, and incomparable new jack swingers Bell Biv DeVoe, among others. Largely, this is thanks to the show’s music bookers (and their bosses, who give them lots of freedom).