Paul Simon made a surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival on Saturday (July 23), where he joined Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the end of a tribute to his music.
Simon previously announced he was retiring from touring in 2018, playing his final show in Queens, just minutes from where he grew up.
The veteran singer-songwriter wrapped up his farewell “Homeward Bound” tour at Flushing Meadows’ Corona Park, playing a 26-song set that ended with two separate encores.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, along with Jerry Douglas on guitar, made an unannounced appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. She began her set with “Graceland,” followed by a special updated version of Rhiannon Giddens’ “American Tune.”
He then performed “The Boxer” with Douglas, Lucius, Rateliff and Lukas Nelson, closing the evening with a solo performance of “The Sound of Silence”.
Before Simon joined them on stage, Rateliff & The Night Sweats performed various covers, including “Mother and Child Reunion”, “Homeward Bound” and “Cecilia”.
“It was a joy to work with Nathaniel and his incredible band. The atmosphere at the festival was nothing short of amazing,” Simon said in a statement after the show (via Rolling Stone).
“It’s hard to bring the joy we feel in the great American composer Paul Simon to the Folk Newport stage,” Rateliff added. “Thank you, Paul, for your songs, your voice and your presence.”
Joni Mitchell also wowed the Newport Country Festival crowd over the weekend when she joined Brandi Carlile on stage to sing two songs.
Together, the pair sang Mitchell’s classics “Both Sides Now” and “A Case Of You,” released in 1966 and 1971, respectively. He also played the guitar solo on his 1974 song “Just Like This Train.”