At a time when "hot acts" from the '60s - the Beach Boys, The Who, Herman's Hermits - are making big bucks by looking back, Paul Simon never looks over his shoulder.

Like Magellan, he charts unknown seas, then presses ahead to chart some more. Sharks and Paul Simon die if they stop moving forward.And on Jan. 16 at the Salt Palace, local Children of the '60s, and the children of those Children of the '60s, will get a chance to hear Simon's latest contribution to the music world in person.

The 40-city swing is being billed as the "Born at the Right Time" tour and will feature music from Simon's latest album, "The Music of the Saints." The $22.50 tickets for the 7 p.m. show are selling briskly, so for information call United Concerts at 355-5522.

This time, Simon will have a 17-piece band in tow, a group made up of musicians from three continents. The band has four percussionists alone, who'll be playing instruments ranging from clay pots and beach thongs to the jawbone of a mule.

Wild.

And, as Simon told the Associated Press in Tacoma at the beginning of the tour, such diverse music requires a rather normal life. Flaubert and Paul Simon believe in being regular and ordinary in daily life so they can be flamboyant in their work.

"If you get into really intense stardom, where you can't walk down the street, the works becomes bizarre," he says. "For a writer, than can be a very dangerous situation."

Simon also plans to scan back over his career and resurrect tunes such as "The Sounds of Silence" and "Kodachrome."

Most people over 30 remember Simon as the songwriter half of the Simon & Garfunkel duo in the '60s. Bob Dylan may have been the prophet of rock, but Simon was the true poet. True believers loved his more obscure songs - "Dangling Conversation," "Richard Corey," "A Simple Desultory Phillipic" - but even his blockbuster hits "I Am a Rock" and "Sounds of Silence" showed him to be a songwriter wise beyond his years.

Like many rock stars from the '60s, Simon seemed to repeat himself, stop growing and burn out in the late '70s. But somehow he found new life a decade later. His "Graceland" album was startling in its use of African musicians and rhythms. Listeners still feel they haven't quite digested everything he was up to.

And his latest work - full of a Latin American flavor - should cause just as much confusion.

Simon will visit 40 cities on this tour. Luckily for Salt Lake City, the stop here will be right in the first batch of concerts, which should make it fresh and alive.

The roadshow opened last week in Tacoma to rave reviews. Wrote critic Gene Stout after the Jan. 5 opener:

"Though Simon has been accused of `cultural imperialism' by those who feel he has plundered ethnic styles for commercial gain, his musical blends have broadened the sound of American pop and given exposure to many talented musicians."

Salt Lake City is ready for him.

Local fans say "Bring him on!"