The Paul Simon Story
Behind the scenes: Something About Simon
My name is Jon Fellowes, and I’m one of the co-producers of Something About Simon – The Paul Simon Story. It’s our very first fringe, and I’m really excited to use this blog to give you a bit of insight into how our show came together, and what goes on behind the scenes!
How the show came to be
For the last 30 years or so our lead performer popular Liverpool singer-songwriter Gary Edward Jones, found himself facing constant comparisons to the legendary American songwriter Paul Simon. Not only was there a certain physical resemblance, Gary’s often poignant and thoughtful lyrics and melodies would also be commented on. While he found this comparison flattering, he was attempting to carve out his own musical path and so let it pass by with just a smile and a nod.
That all changed when he eventually agreed (as a favour to some dear friends) to perform a set of Paul Simon’s songs at the last night of their tenancy of an arts centre in the midlands. The night attracted a sell-out audience, standing ovation, and much critical acclaim. With encouragement from his friends and family, it was at this moment that Gary decided to truly embrace Paul’s music, and the very first incarnation of Something About Simon was born.
What followed was a journey of discovery that lasted 2 to 3 years, where Gary researched the important details of Paul’s life; interviewing people who had known him, discovering lesser-known facts and stories and, of course, fastidiously studying his songs and guitar technique. Put simply, our show is about this journey of discovery. It is not a tribute; it is one musician honoring another, with every tool at his disposal. We are incredibly excited to bring it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the greatest arts festival in the world.
What goes on before the show
Preparation for our show actually begins well before our timeslot. As I write this the time is 10.21am and Gary is rehearsing in the other room, while Bill Elms (our communications director) is answering emails and scheduling social media posts. Our show is on at 3.35pm, which is a great time slot for us. You may well see members of our street team our in George Square handing out flyers, around fringe central and checking out other shows...
Around 2.30pm, it’s time to get ready for load in and so we head to our venue Assembly George Square Studios -Studio One. As the wonderful musicians in the previous production (The Gray Cat and the Flounder) start to make their way out of the studio, Gary changes and I check over the props and get them ready to move into place. Our excellent guitar tech, Anthony, gets the guitars ready and in tune. When we get the go from our venue techs, it’s time to get all of the equipment ready as quickly as we can. The turnaround is tight so it’s a quick soundcheck and then we’re opening front of house to let the audience in!
During the show
While the performance is going on, all of us are doing our best to support Gary and give you the best show that we can. This is where Anthony really comes into his own. Gary uses 6 different instruments in the show – from his favourite master-built Collings acoustic guitar, to his tiny little Kala U-Bass. Anthony makes sure that he gets the right instrument, at the right time, in tune and ready to go.
During the performance, I’ll be at the back by the sound and lighting desk, working with our amazing technicians, to make sure that you get the best lighting and sound quality, and once the performance is done, Gary will head straight down into the lobby in order to speak to fans of the show and any press or industry that might be in attendance. You might be thanked by one of our street team as you make your way out – this is a great opportunity to say hi and tell us what you thought about the show.
We’ve been so pleased with the great response and excellent reviews we’ve had so far!