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See Paul Simon come out of retirement to play a surprise set at the Newport Folk Festival

Paul Simon
(Image credit: Newport Folk Festival / YouTube)

Paul Simon came out of retirement to make a surprise slight return to the stage at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival of Saturday 23 July.

Much to the crowd's delight, the 80-year-old legend was welcomed to the stage by Nathaniel Rateliff during his set with the Night Sweats. The musicians then launched into Simon's classic 1986 song Graceland, with session ace Jerry Douglas on slide. 

Rateliff had been playing a set of Simon's songs with the band already, featuring guests including Midlake, Lucius, Natalie Merchant, Lukas Nelson and Lee Fields. But after the tenth song, a rendition of You Can All Me Al, nobody was expecting the man himself to show up.

Following Graceland, Simon accompanied Rhiannon Giddens and her banjo with the Martin artist model acoustic guitar he used on his 2018 farewell tour for a stunning rendition of American Tune, before The Boxer with some of the set's previous guests and ending with a haunting solo rendition of The Sound Of Silence. 

It was a chance for one of the all-time great American songwriters to share the stage with contemporary talents, and for a new generation of fans to see a hugely influential artist perform, perhaps for the last time. We hope not.  

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Rob Laing
Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.