By Britt Bickel

From longtime neighbors to tour mates, Paul Simon and Sting’s unexpected musical partnership for a one of kind joint tour is one for the books.  Fresh off a show at the Fabulous Forum the night before, the two renowned musicians took the stage together Sunday night for their second SoCal performance at Anaheim’s Honda Center.

The show brought in an eclectic mix of fans spanning generations, proving that their music continues to be just as popular as the day it was recorded. Though coming from two entirely different backgrounds both culturally and stylistically, Simon, 72, and Sting, 62, captivated the audience with their “experiment” as Sting noted with a near three hour performance of 30 songs that highlighted each artists’ vast catalog.

Opening the set with a duet of Sting’s lively hit “Brand New Day” off his 1999 effort of the same name, the natural chemistry between the two artists was quickly felt as they traded lead vocals while playing their respective signature instruments; Simon armed with his acoustic guitar and Sting with his bass. With the audience out of their seats, they then shifted gears to Simon’s equally as spirited “The Boy In A Bubble” that was driven by the duo’s combined 14-piece backing band before slowing things down with a duet of Sting’s ballad “Fields Of Gold.”    

The night switched back and forth from collaborative duets to solo performances of greatest hits. Sting dazzled with both solo hits including “Englishman In New York” and “I Hung My Head” and re-imaginings of Police classics like “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Message In A Bottle.” Simon shined on mellow hits including “Dazzling Blue” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” before getting the audience dancing with “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “Graceland.”

Sting noted in an interview with Rolling Stone last month that their goal of this tour was to “raise each others’ game” on stage together. Stylistically the two may come from opposite genres – Simon with roots in folk-rock and Sting taking notes from rock, punk and reggae – but together their blend of sounds and harmonies is a perfect pairing that will only continue to flourish as they take this “experiment” on the road. 

Click the photo below to see more photos from Paul Simon and Sting at the Honda Center:
Photo by Britt Bickel/K-EARTH 101

Paul Simon and Sting ‘On Stage Together’ at the Honda Center Setlist:

Simon & Sting:
Brand New Day
The Boy in the Bubble
Fields of Gold

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Englishman in New York
I Hung My Head
Driven to Tears

Simon & Sting:
Love Is the Seventh Wave
Mother and Child Reunion

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Dazzling Blue
Still Crazy After All These Years
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Simon & Sting:

Message in a Bottle
The Hounds of Winter
They Dance Alone
Desert Rose

Simon & Sting:
The Boxer

The Obvious Child
Hearts and Bones/Mystery Train/Wheels
Kodachrome/Gone At Last
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al

Encore together:
Every Breath You Take
Late in the Evening
Bridge Over Troubled Water
“When Will I Be Loved” cover of The Everly Brothers


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