Back in September, Paul Simon played a big farewell show in his Queens hometown. But while Simon may be done with touring, he is decidedly not done with getting up in front of people and playing music. In October, Simon performed on SNL for the ninth time, the most anyone has ever played on that show. And last night, Simon brought a couple of his old songs to Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.
Before he headed out on that farewell tour, Simon released In The Blue Light, an album of new arrangements of his own older songs. And on Colbert, Simon sang a couple of those new arrangements of old songs. First up, Simon teamed up with the house band of the Colbert show, Jon Batiste And Stay Human, and he did a bluesy, jazzy rendition of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” a song that first appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. He snaps his fingers and everything. It’s cute.
But for my money, the better of the two performances is the other one: The new version of Simon’s “Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War,” a song that first appeared (as a single!) on the 1983 album Hearts And Bones. Simon performed it with the experimental string ensemble yMusic, who also played on the recorded version of the new one. It’s lovely.
And Simon also sat for an interview, talking about what it’s like to run those old songs back again and talking about his farewell tour: “The farewell tour was basically just to bump the prices.” Below, watch both performances and the interview.
In The Blue Light is out now on Sony Legacy.