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Paul Simon at the 9:30 Club, 5-27-11: Rant and Review

by oddbodkins on May 28, 2011


First, a disclaimer.  i realize that what i’m about to write is possibly misdirected, but this is my blog, so if you don’t like it, you can get the fuck out.  And take Aunt Bunny with you, too, that shaved Bigfoot bitch.


So i ordered my tickets to Paul Simon more on a whim than anything else.  If a musician of that caliber is going to play the 9:30, you just go.  Now, i’m not a huge fan of Simon, but naturally my parents dug him, and being a Gen Xer myself, i’ve got my mandatory copy of Graceland, the video with a then top-of-his-game Chevy Chase for “You Can Call Me Al” forever emblazoned in my mind.  Because my mother still cannot for the life of her figure out how to successfully order tickets on-line (regardless of the hundreds of times i’ve walked her through the process), i ended up with two tickets and the parentals none.  Long story short, i opted to give mine away, even though the lucky recipients eventually were my brother and a co-worker.

And here’s where things get fucked up.  Ticketfly sends out an email stating that the person who ordered the tickets had to show up in person to pick them up in person.  This email was sent two days prior to the show.  So i went downtown with my brother and co-worker, stood in line for an hour, and then was informed that i could not give them to the two people i brought with me.  Now, i understand the desire to foil scalpers, but what the fuck?  What if i had ordered them for my kids or anyone else who might not have a credit card?  And it was family, for chrissakes.  i couldn’t transfer them to my own brother?  That’s just moronically fucked up, plain and simple.

Last night, i was quick to point the finger at the 9:30, assuming them the culprits.  Now, i have nothing but love for the 9:30.  Hell, the number of reviews i’ve written demonstrate how often i go (and i seldom ask for free tickets to cover shows; i figure if bands are good enough to give me music to review, the least i can do is pay to see them live and/or maybe buy some schwag from the merch table).  The staff is amazing, the sound is great, it’s small enough, but not too much so, the acts consistently are incredible–so i probably didn’t need to tweet that “fuck you” message to them last night.  i’m feeling sheepish about that this morning, so i apologize.

Can’t figure out whose policy this was last night–Ticketfly, the 9:30, Paul Simon himself–but whoever it was, it’s a terrible fucking policy.

To make a long story longer, my brother ended up bouncing because he had friends at a nearby bar, and i took my co-worker to see the diminutive troubadour myself.


The former Mr. Princess Leia (No shit, Chet.  No Shit) gave an enjoyable two hour performance, including two encores.  From what i gather from the Post’s review of the DAR gig from the night previous and what a young lady who attended said show told me, it apparently was the same song list, but in a different order.  He tackled predominantly his past catalogue, but played more than a few from his new one, too.  His band was all-star level, as tends to be the case with legends like Simon.  i’ve also noticed that the older and more prominent the musician, the more outlandish the percussion set up.  Not one to buck the trend, Simon employed a guy that looked startlingly like Michael Cera on a standard drum kit and another cat who played every odd variation of percussion you could imagine.  At one point, it looked like he was shaking tiny wooden Muppet crutches, i swear to Dolemite.  Highlights (songs i recognized) included “Boy in the Bubble,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” and an acoustic “Sounds of Silence.”  He also ran through covers by Junior Parker, Chet Atkins, Jimmy Cliff and the Beatles.  Sadly for me, no “You Can Call Me Al” or “Homeless.”  Oh well.  The crowd seemed to enjoy it, but the energy level never rose to riotous.  Simon offered no banter beyond “I love playing clubs” up until the very end, when he profusely thanked the audience and introduced his band.  i don’t know, maybe if i were a bigger Simon fan, i would have been more impressed, but i’d give it a B- as far as shows go.  Had my female co-worker actually decked the woman sorely in need of a shower that invaded our corner at the end of the evening and kept whipping her with her ponytail, i might have gone as high as a B.

Somebody still owes my brother an apology, though.

m4a: Graceland (Paul Simon Cover) (Grizzly Bear from The Interwebs)

mp3: Graceland (Paul Simon Cover) (Castione for the Painfully Alone from Advance Base Battery Life)

mp3: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon Cover) (Platinum Pied Pipers from I Prefer Uptown)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda May 29, 2011 at 4:49 am

My son is a big fan of Paul Simon and ordered two tickets for him and his girlfriend. He was graduating from college so I gave him my credit card to use so it would be a gift. During the mad rush of buying tickets we didn’t read the fine print. I called customer service and told them the story and emailed the 9:30 club. I was told that I had to go and my son was lucky if I took him as my guest. This was my first visit to the 9:30 club. Although the policy seemed ridiculous, and my son was very disappointed, I was secretly happy to go. A lawyer behind us in line had met two people he was selling tickets to. He told them the policy can’t be enforced. When he was handed his tickets he said he didn’t want to go in yet and took off to do the sale! We went to the downstairs bar and ordered food at 6:35. When the concert started at 8 we still hadn’t gotten it! I complained to the manager and he had a very bad attitude and said there was nothing he could do. I have never seen such poor customer service. We finally got two awful veggie burgers. Any restaurant would refund the money and the $4.00 tip or given us a few beers. They seem to have a good thing going with little competition and obviously don’t care about customer service.


oddbodkins May 29, 2011 at 7:23 am

Sorry to hear you had a similar experience, Linda. Normally, i’d defend the 9:30 to the end, but i can’t this time. Even if they were enforcing someone else’s policy, that’s still bullshit.


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