Paul Simon at RDS, Dublin: everything you need to know

US singer’s concert next Friday may be the last time he plays in Ireland

Is it the end of the road for Paul Simon? Is it, as his songwriting colleague Bob Dylan has noted, “not dark yet, but it’s getting there”?

Simon has been relatively vague about whether full retirement is on the cards, or whether he is merely stepping off the touring treadmill in order to focus on less structured, occasional performances.

Quoted in the New York Times two years ago, Simon said that his retirement plans – "I am going to see what happens if I let go" – had been misinterpreted. Speaking to The Irish Times some months later, he qualified his previous comments by saying, "What I said was I was thinking about what I would do if I didn't take my creative impulses and channel them into, for me, a typical form of creativity – a song, or music. You know, if I didn't do that, then what would happen? What I actually meant was exactly what I said: I'm thinking about it, I'm wondering about it. I posed the question not knowing what the answer might be."

Still, the tour is called Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour.


For the moment, though, Simon is here, still performing, still writing. It is, perhaps, too easy to forget that he has been writing songs from the age of 13. As most of us know, to begin with there was Simon and his school friend, Art Garfunkel, but because his father had been in the music industry, Simon’s understanding of retaining copyright over his songs from the very start of his career has earned him tens of millions in publishing royalties.

Aligning such a keen sense of business matters with a songwriting style that set him apart from his 1960s contemporaries such as Dylan, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, Simon quickly developed as the writer of songs that laid bare his life and relationships.

While his work with Garfunkel has since gone into the history books as one of the most commercially and creatively successful duos in pop music – their fifth and final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, has sold more than 25 million copies – Simon's solo work has virtually erased his former partner's forays into music. Following the initial split with Garfunkel – they have reformed over the years, but at this point their separation is entombed – Simon went on to forge an initially tentative but subsequently unstoppable solo career.

As well as being a fine (if often underrated) songwriter, Simon has an acute level of self-awareness. His Irish fans will flock to the RDS next Friday for several reasons, one of which will be to see him perform in Ireland for the last time (possibly), but also to hear his songs, of which he had this to say in this paper two years ago: "I guess the only value judgment is whether people will still sing your songs in 50 or 100 years' time. I could mention songs like El Condor Pasa, Sound of Silence, Bridge Over Troubled Waters and a few others… I kinda agree that their value is indisputable in that they lasted about 50 years, so we're almost halfway there!"

Are tickets still available?
Yes. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster in the range of €100-€166.

What time does everything kick off?
Doors are open at 4pm for a strong line-up with Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor as the special guests. Stage times are as follows 9subject to change):

  • Bonnie Raitt: 5pm.
  • James Taylor & his All-Star Band: 6.15pm
  • Paul Simon: 8pm

What is he likely to play?
Paul Simon's setlist for his show at the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, on Sunday, July 8th, which lasted for about 2hrs, 20m, featured the following songs:

  • America
  • 50 Ways to Leave your Lover
  • The Boy in the Bubble
  • Dazzling Blue
  • That was your Mother
  • Rewrite
  • Mother and Child Reunion
  • Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  • Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War
  • Can't Run But
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Wristband
  • Spirit Voices
  • The Obvious Child
  • Questions for the Angels
  • The Cool, Cool River
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • You Can Call Me Al
  • Encore/1: Gumboots, Still Crazy After All These Years, Graceland
  • Encore/2: Homeward Bound, Kodachrome, The Boxer, American Tune, Old Friends/Bookends, The Sound of Silence

What will the weather be like?
We can expect 22 degrees during the day, decreasing to 12 degrees by nightfall. Showers, some heavy, in the east from late morning onwards.

How do I get there... and home?
Concert-goers are advised to use public transport, as traffic will be busy in the surrounding areas, especially so with the show taking place on a Friday. There are a limited number of parking spaces in the Simmonscourt Extension Car Park (located on Simmonscourt Road). Pay-and-display street parking is also available.

Dublin Bus: routes that serve the general RDS area include:

  • Ballsbridge: 4, 5, 7, 7a, 7n, 8, 18, 27x, 45, 47.
  • Donnybrook: 7b, 7d, 32x, 39b, 41x, 46a, 46e, 77x, 84x, 116, 118, 145.
  • Sandymount: 2, 3, 18.

Dart: The closest Dart station to the RDS is Sandymount.

Traffic restrictions
All roads around the RDS will remain open to traffic but expect delays due to the concert timings. Simmonscourt Road and/or Anglesea Road may be closed for a short period before the concert if the volume of pedestrian traffic is too high for vehicles to pass safely. After the concert, traffic will be controlled on Merrion Road and Anglesea Road to clear the early stage of pedestrian traffic.

Mobility impaired access
There will be designated viewing platforms for wheelchair users. Accessible tickets can be booked by phoning Ticketmaster on these numbers: 0818 903001 (RoI), 0844 277 9964 (UK), 00 353 818 903001 (international).

What about security?
If you have to bring along a bag, remember that it needs to be no bigger than A5 size (11.45cm x 15.25cm or 4.5 in x 6.0in), which is approximately paperback book size, enough to carry some money, cards, phone, and essentials such as inhalers, medicine, etc. Bags of A5 size and under will be subject to a search, which will result in unnecessary queuing. Any article that may be used as a weapon, any person deemed to be offensive or abusive or who may compromise public safety, will not be admitted and be reported to the Garda. Concert attendees are reminded that the RDS is located in a residential area and are requested to behave in an appropriate manner when arriving at and departing from the venue.

What can I bring into the venue?
Prohibited articles and items include professional video cameras and audio recording devices such as iPads/tablets, bottles, cans, glass vessels, illegal substances, umbrellas, selfie sticks, belt chains, laser pointers, large posters (A3+), large flag poles, alcohol, drinks, and food. Bar and catering facilities are available at the RDS. A valid photo ID may be requested for the purchase of alcohol.

Where I can get the latest event details?
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