Yesterday was one of the busiest news days we can remember ’round HT headquarters, so we didn’t even get to the story I was most excited about. Billboard exclusively revealed that Paul Simon is planning a 2012 world tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my all-time favorite album, Graceland, that will coincide with a Graceland box set.
Considering that Simon has filled his setlists with Graceland tunes since the album’s release, the big news isn’t that he’ll be performing those songs. What jumped out is that Simon expects to bring South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the road with him along with a few other musicians who performed on the landmark LP. Hopefully trumpet wiz Hugh Masekela will make the trek. Sadly, vocalist Miriam Makeba, who toured with Simon on the original Graceland dates, passed away in 2008, so perhaps Under African Skies singer Linda Ronstadt will make at least a few appearances to sing the tune.
One group of Graceland performers that probably won’t be hitting the stage with Simon anytime soon are the members of Los Lobos. The East L.A. band, who added to the Graceland track All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints, accused Simon of stealing the song from them in a 2006 interview with JamBase. Speaking of All Around the World, that’s one of only four Graceland tracks that doesn’t get played regularly by Simon. Homeless (you kinda need Ladysmith for this one), I Know What I Know and Under African Skies are the other Graceland tunes that weren’t played regularly during Paul’s So Beautiful or So What Tour.
We look forward to hearing much more about this tour and box set in the coming months. Simon has a tendency to play smaller venues and we hope for this extravaganza he moves up to arenas.