Paul Simon Made a Surprise Appearance at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival

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Paul Simon acknowledging the audience cheers following “The Boxer” at the Newport Folk Festival

All the signs were there. The final set for Saturday night’s main stage at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival was billed as “American Tune Revue” presented by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. And when they opened with a cover of “Mother and Child Reunion” and “Kodachrome,” anyone who didn’t realize that the program was going to be a tribute to Paul Simon quickly figured it out.

The terrific Americana band breezed through ten songs from the Simon songbook, joined occasionally by guests on such American tunes as “Me and Julio Down By the School Yard,” “Homeward Bound” (with Lukas Nelson) and “Cecilia” (Marcus Mumford).

Following a rousing “You Can Call Me Al” performed with Lucius (who had played their own set at the festival’s much smaller Quad Stage), Rateliff welcomed a familiar face to the stage. Simon arrived with a guitar over his shoulder and his trademark baseball cap on his head, as the packed crowd at the Fort Stage roared.

Watch him perform “Graceland” with Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Simon, born October 13, 1941, retired from touring in 2018. He continues to make the occasional concert appearance such as this one. Surprisingly, this July 23, 2022 performance was the first time that the singer-songwriter had played the Newport Folk Festival.

Paul Simon and Nathaniel Rateliff at the Newport Folk Festival (Photo: Rett Rogers; used with permission)

Related: When Simon ended his touring days

He was joined by musician Rhiannon Giddens who sang “American Tune” as he craftily adjusted some of the song’s lyrics for her.

Watch the full lineup perform “The Boxer”

Simon closed his brief four song set with “The Sound of Silence.”

Thanks to Amy Karibian for the great videos.

Related: One day later on the same stage, Joni Mitchell performed her first set in nearly a decade

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  1. melf
    #1 melf 25 July, 2022, 00:39

    Thank you for posting American Tune and the Boxer, Paul Simon is still out there strumming his stuff! Love that rendition with Rhiannon Giddens, Both a boatful of talent.
    Would have liked to have been there.

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