ONE of the great things about last year's 25th anniversary edition of Paul Simon's Graceland was the bonus goodies that came with the deluxe package.
Veteran documentary maker Joe Berlinger used the framing device of Simon returning to South Africa for a 25th anniversary concert with many of the musicians who played on the album to trace the controversy which surrounded the record itself when it was released in 1986 and the equally troubled world tour which followed in 1987.
Simon was accused of breaking UN sanctions by going to the apartheid-ridden country but, as he pointed out, they only applied to performing in front of segregated audiences and didn't cover recording there. Sticking to his guns and knowing that he had something really special on his hands, Simon rode out the storm.
The magic which bursts from the screen when Simon and his band, now including several South African musicians and the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, play Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes in front of a gobsmacked Saturday Night Live audience is one of the greatest musical moments I've seen in decades. Truly moving.
When the Graceland tour came to the RDS Simmonscourt in 1987 Simon was more than generous when allocating guest slots to Hugh Masekela, the late Miriam Makeba and the aforementioned Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a night of sheer joy. Here's looking forward to more of the same next week.
Paul Simon, with guests Ladysmith Black Mambazo, plays Graceland at the O2 next Thursday and Friday