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Paul Simon thanks fans on final European show at Hyde Park

The veteran star was headlining British Summer Time in London.

Paul Simon told fans how thankful he is for their support as he played his last show in Europe before he retires from touring.

The veteran star appeared on stage at British Summer Time in London’s Hyde Park in a red t-shirt and sunglasses for a two and a half hour farewell concert as part of his Homeward Bound tour.

After opening with America and Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover, he said: “Hello old friends.

“First of all, thank you all so much. It’s been a real privilege my whole life, my whole life has been that way.

“Most of the songs I’m going to play tonight you will probably know, most of them were written as rhythm tunes, which means to be danced to.”

His set list included hits such as Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes and Call Me Al.

He also treated fans to a rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water, which was a big hit for Simon and Garfunkel in 1970 and became one of the most performed songs of the 20th century, with over 50 artists including Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, covering the song.

In recent years Simon has rarely performed it himself.

He said: “This song felt as if it came through me, as if I was a conduit for it.

“Then I gave the song away and I seldom sung it after that, so I had a strange relationship to it as if it wasn’t my song, but tonight, on my final tour I’m going to reclaim my lost child.”

As the song came to a close he said: “It feels good to have it back.”

Simon, 76, announced his retirement from touring in February, saying the travel and time away from his wife, Edie Brickell, was taking a toll that detracts from his love of playing.

He also attributed the decision in part to the death of his band member and friend of 30 years, Vincent Nguini.

Speaking on stage, Simon said the guitarist was “a great loss” and made him despair of playing the songs they recorded together, until he met another musician who channelled the same energy.

During multiple encores Simon also played classics Still Crazy and Graceland, as well as Homeward Bound, before closing the show with the Simon and Garfunkel song The Sound Of Silence.

Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour will conclude in New York on September 22.

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