South O’ the Highway

Paul Simon Performs Songs from New Album ‘In the Blue Light’ on ‘Colbert’

He's reworking his favorite b-sides into the masterpieces he always wanted them to be.

Montauk resident Paul Simon appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on January 28 to discuss his latest album, In the Blue Light, and perform a few of the record’s revised singles.

Stephen Colbert started the interview by teasing Simon about his supposed farewell tour. “So is this the I Was Just kidding Tour?” he asked. Simon joked that calling it the farewell tour was just a tactic to sell more expensive tickets, but he went on to explain that while he’ll still perform shows, they won’t be packaged as part of a tour. Proceeds for future performances will continue to go toward local charities and nonprofit programs.

When Colbert brought out In the Blue Light to ask Simon why he re-recorded some of his old classics, the musician said he didn’t actually come on the show to try and sell it, so the host chucked it toward the very expensive back screen. Simon went on to explain that he picked 10 songs that didn’t receive a lot of attention when they were first releases and rewrote some of the weaker sections.

Simon shared the inspiration behind one of the more intriguing re-recorded songs, Colbert’s personal favorite, “René & Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War.” He explained that he was in California to go to a festival with Joan Baez and to rehearse a duet. While at her house, he thumbed through a book of paintings by surrealist René Magritte and came across a photograph of Magritte with his wife, Georgette, captioned: “René and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war.” Within that caption, Simon saw a great song title and went on to write a beautifully surreal song about a surrealist.

After the interview, Simon performed the revised song with the house band and was later joined by Jon Batiste & Stay Human for a web-exclusive performance of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.”

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