The stars come out for Merriweather’s 50th

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Robert Friedman

Merriweather Post Pavilion opened in 1967 with a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, and audiences — on the lawn and in the pavilion — have welcomed musical acts of all genres ever since.
Photo courtesy of Merriweather

“Oddly enough, the older you get, the happier you get.”

Paul Simon, who will be appearing at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 9, uttered those words, not yet set to music, during a recent interview with the BBC as he was entering his 75th year.

A couple of years earlier, in his album You’re the One, he had this to sing about aging:

The human race has walked the earth for 2.7 million
And we estimate the universe at 13–14 billion
When all these numbers tumble into your imagination
Consider that the Lord was there before
God is old
We’re not old
God is old
He made the mold

The song writer-singer-guitarist will be one of several all-star musicians performing at the Columbia outdoor concert venue this summer.

For those hiding for the past 50 years behind Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller records, Simon has composed — both by himself and with former-now-estranged musical partner Art Garfunkel — such groovy, poetic, all-time classics as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “Graceland,” “Feelin’ Groovy,” “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” and many other hits.

Appearing on the bill with Simon will be Canadian singer-songwriter (and Grammy winner) Sarah McLachlan. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert will start at $55.

Anniversary celebration

Jackson Browne, who recorded some of his album Running on Empty at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 1977, will return as part of a 50th anniversary celebration on July 15.
Photo courtesy of Merriweather

A second highlight of the June-July-August summer season will be the 50th anniversary celebration of the performance venue in Symphony Woods. Merriweather opened on July 15, 1967 with a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.

The anniversary celebration, on Saturday, July 15, will feature country music great Willie Nelson and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.

Browne came to prominence in the ‘70s with his album Running on Empty. He recorded portions of the Grammy-nominated 1977 album at Merriweather. Nelson, meanwhile, will be making his 14th appearance at the Columbia amphitheater.

Also appearing at the celebration will be Father John Misty, a Rockville native who played Merriweather in June 2015 with the Decemberists.

The Saturday evening concert gets underway at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced from $55.

Jazz and more in June

Paul Simon will appear at Merriweather on June 9 with Sarah McLachlan. Simon's 2016 album, Stranger to Stranger, was his first new release in five years and includes a variety of unusual instruments.

Going back to the start of the summer season at Merriweather, the 25th annual Capital Jazz Fest swings in on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. The sessions begin both days at noon and may last into the wee hours.

The Saturday session includes, among others, guitarist Lee Ritenour and the group Pieces of a Dream, while guitarist George Benson and trumpeter Chris Botti will be among those featured on Sunday. Tickets for the weekend sessions start at $78.50.

On June 20, John Legend brings his voice, piano and songs to the amphitheater stage. Most likely he will be singing “Glory,” the song from the movie, Selma, for which Legend and co-writer rapper Common won the Oscar in 2015 for best song from a movie. Legend was recently seen in La La Land, playing the leader of a fusion jazz band.

The Tuesday evening show begins at 7:30 p.m. with tickets beginning at $59.

Veteran Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana brings his Latin rock group, aptly named Santana, to the Columbia pavilion on Tuesday, Aug. 15. The Mexican-American singer-guitarist formed the band 51 years ago in San Francisco. The group, which has won nine Grammy Awards, is still going strong, releasing its latest album, Santana IV: Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas, last October.

The Tuesday evening concert gets underway at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $55.50.

Among other performers set for Merriweather for this season: Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, June 18; Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton, June 23; Luke Bryan and Brett Eldredge, June 25, and Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini & Brett Young.

New this year: those driving to Merriweather Post Pavilion have to pre-select or decline free onsite parking once concert tickets have been purchased. You must have a parking lot ticket when you arrive at the show.

Merriweather Post Pavilion is located at 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia For more information or to purchase tickets, see or call 1-877-435-9849.