Last Saturday in Toronto, a woman named Rayna Ford went to a Paul Simon concert. She called out to the singer: “Play ‘Duncan!,’” or words to that effect; Simon heard her better onstage than we do in this video taken from the audience. “You learned to play guitar in this song?” Simon replied, and invited her to get up alongside him.
What happened next was very sweet, and genuinely moving: It’s the moment of Rayna Ford’s life, and a chance for Simon to show us that he’s a bit less crazy after all these years.And it made us think that you can be as far as possible from a punk rocker and still buy into rock and roll’s ultra-democratic premise (which is also a promise): Given a level playing field, any of us could simply switch places with our favorite performers. (Although, of course, that Platinum Amex card does get you closer to the stage in the first place.)
When I was a kid and until I was almost an adult, I had this fantasy about being asked to join Simon and Garfunkel. At one point, I actually thought it could happen if I just kept working on my poetry. I had the soul of a singer and was trying to learn to play the guitar. My voice was not so great, but I saw myself more as a back-up singer anyway. It never happened for me, but after seeing this, I think it may not be too late. It is never too late.
You rock, Rayna. You are a rock!