OFFICIAL REVIEWS 2004
here are a couple of 2004 show reviews from Europe (and USA further down the
(all in their original form/languages)
Please also click in the link below to see what your fellow fans have to say about the show !
F A N V I E W S
When in Rome..................
JULY 31 (ROME, ITALY)
by Frances d'Emilio
Simon & Garfunkel Play to 600,000 in Rome
the Colosseum and a swollen golden moon rising above it as a backdrop, Simon
& Garfunkel closed out the European leg of their Old Friends tour with
hundreds of thousands of adoring fans stretched before them Saturday night.
Mayor Walter Veltroni told the crowd that 600,000 people had turned out for the
free concert, 100,000 more than the crowd for a free concert by Paul McCartney
last year in the same setting. That might make cause some wincing for fans who
paid an average of nearly US$140 a ticket for the first leg of the tour in the
United States, which began last autumn.
concertgoers in Rome rocked and stamped their feet in encouragement. Many
members of the audience were in their 60s and grew up with the songs of Paul
Simon and Art Garfunkel. The pair's songs were so popular their lyrics were
translated into Italian and the melodies sung by Italian groups.
crowd roared as Simon crouched low with his guitar, getting into the grove of
"Mrs. Robinson," their hit song recorded for the cult movie hit
"The Graduate." While he sang the song, Garfunkel toyed with the
buttons of his shirt cuff. Thousands of fans showed up hours ahead of the
performance to find a decent viewing place, but some of the best seats in the
house went untaken. Those were balconies and terraces of apartment buildings
overlooking the Colosseum. Their occupants were among the hundreds of thousands
of Rome's 3 million inhabitants who have fled the city these weeks for vacation.
Simon and Garfunkel grew up in a middle class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. But the boyhood pals have been famously estranged over the years, splitting up bitterly in 1971. The European tour started in Manchester, England, on July 14, and took the pair to 10 other cities before Rome.
The tour also featured the Everly Brothers, who joined Simon & Garfunkel in a rendition of "Bye Bye Love." Songs performed included many of Simon & Garfunkel's biggest hits together, including "Sound of Silence," "My Little Town," "El Condor Pasa" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience.
separate interviews last month with The Associated Press in New York, the two
artists disagreed on whether Simon & Garfunkel have a recording future.
JULY 24 (OSLO, NORWAY)
by Lars Holger Ursin
Simon and Garfunkel krangler fortsatt
Tom&Jerry kalte de seg først. Ikke verdens mest originale navn, men det passet bra, for de spilte ikke verdens mest originale musikk heller. Den første singelen deres, «Hey Schoolgirl», ble til da de to tenåringsguttene prøvde å kopiere en The Everly Brothers-låt. Som kopi var den mislykket, men den fungerte som singel. Den solgte 150.000 eksemplarer, og var innom topp 50-listen i 1957. Men allerede 17 år gamle ble de bitre uvenner. I et intervju med Playboy i 1984 røpet Simon at han fortsatte å skrive låter som ikke var til Tom&Jerry. Da Garfunkel oppdaget det, ble han rasende, og betent selv i 1984:
- Vi snakket om det nylig, og jeg sa «Artie, for guds skyld, jeg var 15 år gammel! Hvordan kan du bære nag for det i 25 år? Selv om det var galt av meg, var jeg bare en 15-åring som ville være Elvis en stakket stund i stedet for å være The Everly Brothers med deg. Og selv om det såret deg, bør vi la det ligge». Men det vil han ikke... han sier «Du er fortsatt den samme fyren». Og jeg tror han synes jeg er det.
En uventet hit
Fem år tok det før de ble venner igjen. I 1962 hadde Garfunkel droppet musikken til fordel for arkitektstudier, mens Simon var en elendig jusstudent, og betydelig bedre låtskriver. Simon hadde laget noen låter, blant annet en som senere skulle bli til «Scarborough Fair». Han oppsøkte sin gamle kompis, Garfunkel la på falsetten sin, og vips, hadde de to funnet tonen igjen. «Wednesday Morning, 3 AM» kom ut i 1964, og ble ingen umiddelbar suksess. Faktisk bestemte Paul Simon seg igjen for å gå solo, og stakk til England. Garfunkel ble igjen i New York og ga igjen opp musikken. Trodde han.For i 1965 begynte «The Sound Of Silence» å klatre på hitlistene. Garfunkel skrev brev til Simon og ba ham pakke kofferten. Tre uker senere satt de og frøs på en parkeringsplass i Queens. De bodde fortsatt hjemme hos foreldrene sine, men satt ute for å røyke og høre popmusikk på bilradioen. Der hørte de at «The Sound Of Silence» hadde nådd toppen på hitlistene. Og forsto at livene deres hadde endret seg for alltid.
De neste par årene ble gode. De kvernet ut hits, og platene deres solgte astronomisk. En stund var de også gode venner, men med suksessen kom også misunnelsen. Utad hevdet de to at Simon skrev låtene, og Garfunkel arrangerte dem - i virkeligheten skrev og arrangerte Simon låtene mer eller mindre på egen hånd. Garfunkel ble skjøvet til side når de ikke sto på scenen - og der kapret han mer applaus og ære enn Simon var helt komfortabel med.
Stakk til Mexico
Garfunkel var heller ikke komfortabel med å bli valset over bak kulissene. Han hatet å stå på scenen, enda han fikk jubel og ære, og bidro med fint lite i låtskrivingsprosessen. I tiden frem mot det siste albumet, «Bridge Over Troubled Water», satt Paul Simon alene i New York og skrev, mens Art Garfunkel stakk til Mexico for å spille i storfilmen «Catch 22». Simon fikk klar beskjed fra kompisen om at han var uønsket på filmsettet. Da begynte han for alvor å slite med motivasjonen - «So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright» handler ifølge ham selv mest om å bryte samarbeidet med Art Garfunkel. Da Garfunkel avslørte at han hadde tenkt å gjøre en ny film, «Carnal Knowledge», med selveste Jack Nicholson som motspiller, mente Simon at løpet var kjørt. «Bridge Over Troubled Water» ble en formidabel suksess, og deres siste studioalbum. Siden forsøkte begge seg solo - men Paul Simon gjorde akkurat det klart bedre enn eksmakkeren, som rotet det til for seg også i filmkarrieren. «Carnal Knowledge» ble hans siste store rolle. Som soloartist var Garfunkel alltid avhengig av hjelp fra andre låtskrivere - og han har ikke funnet noen som matcher Simon.I 1975 samarbeidet de igjen om en singel, «My Little Town», som nådde topp 10 i USA. De bidro også sporadisk på hverandres soloprosjekter, og gjorde enkelte konserter sammen. I 1981 spilte de i New Yorks Central Park, en konsert som ble foreviget på et live-album. En halv million tilskuere møtte opp for å hylle dem, og braksuksessen førte dem ut på turné sammen, og de begynte så smått å jobbe med et flunkende nytt studioalbum. Men samarbeidet skar seg fort, og siden har de vært opptatt på hver sin kant, inntil «Old Friends»-turneen startet i fjor.
Mykere i kantene
Nå turnerer Simon and Garfunkel med sine gamle forbilder - The Everly Brothers. De er blitt modne menn som kan spøke hjertelig om kranglingen sin på scenen. Og de får strålende kritikker. De har fortsatt gnisten som gjorde dem til den største folkeduoen noensinne. Og de er blitt mykere i kantene. På den opprinnelige utgaven av «Bridge Over Troubled Water» synger Garfunkel praktisk talt hele låten alene - Simon er med på noen linjer på sisteverset. På Oslo Spektrum i morgen synger Simon sannsynligvis annenverset alene, og de tar sisteverset i duett.- Det er låtskriveren som tar låten sin tilbake. Jeg tror nok Paul er fornøyd med å dele låten med meg heller enn å gi den til meg, sa Garfunkel nylig til The Buffalo News. Og innrømmer at han neppe hadde latt den passere for 35 år siden. Men nå ser de stort på det. Garfunkel forklarte hvorfor til The Buffalo News:
- En venn av meg sa en gang: Jeg kjenner dere begge, men når dere jobber sammen, er det som en tredje person dukker opp.
Hadde de bare hatt den innsikten for 35 år siden...
JULY 21 (AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS)
by Peter de Jonge
Vriendschap die nooit overgaat
Het gevecht van de sentimenten. Dat speelde tijdens het bijzondere concert van Simon & Garfunkel in de Amsterdam Arena. Wat zou er winnen? Het gelukzalige gevoel van het weerzien na 22 jaar of de wetenschap dat het waarschijnlijk de laatste keer was? Voor de meest vijftigers spelen die factoren een bepalende rol bij de beoordeling van het optreden. Want het is onmiskenbaar een sensationele vibratie om de legendes van de popmuziek nog live te mogen zien.
Simon & Garfunkel zijn zoals ze waren. Paul Simon, de creatieve musicus en duidelijk de regisseur van de Old Friends-tour. Art Garfunkel, die na vijftig jaar nog altijd de houding heeft van iemand die wel zingt, maar eigenlijk niet op het podium staat. Zijn handen half in de zakken van zijn jeans, als handelsmerk. Het ultieme showelement is de losjes geknoopte blauwe stropdas op zijn oersaaie witte hemd, maar ook die verdwijnt al snel. Niets aan die man verraadt dat hij een loopbaan als acteur ambieerde.
Lang geleden kozen ze er voor om elk hun eigen weg te gaan. Als duo hebben ze daardoor geen evolutie doorgemaakt. Het verklaart waarom -als ze met grote tussenpozen samen op tournee gaan -het liefst zo dicht mogelijk bij de oorspronkelijke versies blijven.
Wat zou je ook anders met klassiekers als Bridge over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson, Scarborough Fairen The Boxer. Of I am a Rock, Sound of Silence en Homeward Bound, nummers waarmee ze in 1966 voor het eerst op de Nederlandse televisie te zien waren. Wie zoveel moois heeft gemaakt en nog altijd prachtig weet te brengen, heeft verder geen franje nodig.
Dat het in Nederlandse grootste echoput moet worden uitgevoerd, kun je hun niet kwalijk nemen. Dat Garfunkel even van de wijs is bij El Condor Pasa en de hoogste nootjes niet altijd meer feilloos haalt, reken je hem ook niet aan. Net zo min als het feit dat The Everly Brothers (je hart bonkt in je keel bij zoveel herinnering) er een beetje aan de haren bijgesleept zijn.
overwint is het weerzien met oude vrienden, die zelf geen dikke maten meer zijn.
Maar voor de fans is het een vriendschap die nooit overgaat.
JULY 19 (PARIS, FRANCE)
appeared on France 2
(thanks to Peter Aarts)
Simon et Garfunkel: un unique concert parisien
une absence de 22 ans, le duo Simon et Garfunkel a retrouvé le public parisien
lundi soir à Paris-Bercy
le plus populaire de la musique pop US des années 60, se produit dans une tournée
qui les verra se produire en Allemagne, au Danemark, en Italie, aux
Pays-Bas, en Suède et au Danemark.
Il s'agissait de la seule étape en France du duo pour des retrouvailles qui ont attiré le public en nombre au cours de la saison dernière aux Etats-Unis.
hommes s'étaient séparés en 1970 mais ils s'étaient retrouvés en
septembre 1981 à Central Park, à New York, devant 500.000 spectateurs. Le
duo folk-rock a connu la gloire avec "Mrs Robinson", la
chanson du film de Mike Nichols, "Le Lauréat".
Si leur popularité n'est plus tout à fait la même (leur dernière prestation dans la capitale, en 1982 avait eu pour cadre l'hippodrome de Longchamp, devant 40.000 fidèles), les deux New Yorkais, de 63 ans, disposent de supporters, quadra et quinquagénaires pour l'essentiel.
Une soirée placée sous le signe de la nostalgie (la tournée s'intitule "Old Friends", les vieux amis), que renforce également la présence dans le spectacle d'un autre duo célèbre, aujourd'hui oublié par les plus jeunes, les Everly Brothers. "C'est grâce à eux que nous avons décidé de chanter", lâche Art Garfunkel en introduisant les frères Don et Phil Everly, avec qui ils reprennent des tubes du duo ("Wake Up Little Suzie",
JULY 15 (LONDON, UK)
by Chris Heard
Simon and Garfunkel live
and Garfunkel played only their second UK concert in more than 20 years to
50,000 fans at London's Hyde Park on Thursday.
Few acts can rival Simon and
Garfunkel's famous catalogue of hits in capturing the elusive spirit of
40 years after their heyday, there is little in pop and rock music as evocative
of a time, a place and the mood of an era.
somewhere between Kennedy's death and the march of Vietnam, Simon's songs and
Garfunkel's angelic voice distilled the end-of-innocence transition from folky
optimism to poignant reflection.
duo's harmonies seem forever destined to form the soundtrack for grainy footage
of civil rights marches and stripey-scarved students at campus sit-ins.
these are truly classic songs which have not only survived but aged well,
sounding fresh and invigorated when replicated live - 50 years after the pair,
now both 63, met and forged their friendship.
Heralding their arrival on
stage, a series of video images on a giant screen replays iconic moments in
culture - from the moon landings and a disco floor to the Berlin Wall's collapse
and the Millennium celebrations.
with mischievous shots of the pair's changing hairlines and dodgy fashion
choices, the message seems to be: 'Not only have we witnessed and survived all
this, we're intact and as vital as ever'. And so it would prove.
sight of them physically side by side is an instantly recognisable delight, one
much loved by the caricaturists: Garfunkel, tall and serene, the lion's mane of
hair still framing his studied features. Simon, diminutive and fluid, rocking
with his acoustic guitar.
a song about my country, and a time and place that no longer exists," says
Garfunkel introducing America, Simon's mythical journey into the soul of a
nation that symbolised a generation's idealism.
unashamedly nostalgic and bordering on the sentimental, there is also a playful
undertone, with both parties - noted for their fall-outs over the years -
drawing on the irony of the tour's Old Friends title.
is now the 50th anniversary of the friendship that I hold very close to
me," says Garfunkel, before Simon counters: "Fourteen years old we
started to argue. That makes this the 48th anniversary (of us arguing)."
musical heroes The Everly Brothers, the four run through a celebratory Bye Bye
Love with an energy that belies a combined age pushing 250.
show - part of a tour which will reputedly make the duo £30m - is also an
upbeat affair, with electric guitars, piano and occasional strings joining their
more pastoral moments.
enthusiastic crowd cheerily greets gem after gem: The Sound of Silence, I Am A
Rock, Homeward Bound, Keep The Customer Satisfied, Kathy's Song, Hazy Shade Of
Winter, Scarborough Fair, The Boxer, Mrs Robinson...
Young, Zoe Ball and Little Britain's Matt Lucas are among the revellers at Hyde
Park on a still midsummer's night for what will probably be the last UK
approximation of the duo's legendary New York Central Park concert.
The set ends with the hymnal Bridge Over Troubled Water, and 50,000 people are rapt.
JULY 14 (MANCHESTER, UK)
by Paul Taylor
heavy on the air. The screens flashed up images of moon landings, Richard Nixon
on state business and a boyish Simon and Garfunkel as the chords to America were
picked out. The sixties rushed by in a flickering montage.
Then the two of them stepped out singing, what else, Old Friends. "How terribly strange to be 70," sang Art Garfunkel in this tale of two old men in a park. When Paul Simon wrote that line in 1968, could he have known that, at 62, these childhood friends would be singing it still, when 70 would not seem so terribly strange any more. And did Simon envisage that one day this often reluctant partnership would again sing Leaves That Are Green, 40 years on from its conception, when its theme of autumn decay would take on a heavy new symbolism?
Simon & Garfunkel - live in the Manchester Arena
This was Simon and Garfunkel's first concert on British soil for over 20 years, enough of a draw for the best £85 tickets in the house to command £300 on the black market.
If the passing of the years, the beauty of these songs and the unspoken understanding that this is a farewell tour did not prick your emotions, then the spirit of reconciliation between these old sparring partners surely would. This was, Garfunkel pointed out, the 50th anniversary of their friendship. And, as Simon said, the 48th anniversary of their first argument. "We don't argue any more," he hastily added. "We are exhausted."
Joining them to sing a few songs of their own were Don and Phil Everly, an inspiration to the young Simon and Garfunkel. And in a polite nod to Manchester, Simon said: "Let me say how glad I am to be here in one of the greatest music capitals of the world."
The set list could not have been better chosen - the questing spirit of America, the hymn-like elegance of Kathy's Song (once busked by the pair on the streets of England), the magic of Scarborough Fair, the hugely evocative Homeward Bound (written on Widnes railway station) The Sound Of Silence, The Boxer and Mrs Robinson, its indelible part in the movie The Graduate signifying sexual awakening for a whole generation.
Anyone who thought the songs of Paul Simon have nothing to say to the 21st Century should have heard American Tune last night, singing of the nation's "uncertain hours" and the Statue of Liberty "sailing away to sea". And then there was, of course, Bridge Over Troubled Water, with the duo sharing the singing honours. Perhaps this moment best summed up the contrasts between the two men.
Garfunkel stood, radiant with self-confidence singing that transcendent melody, eyes aloft, for what seemed to be the benefit of a higher authority. Simon, intense, dour of aspect and awkward of movement sang his verse posing strangely like a tubby ballerina.
This was what one jaded reviewer would say is the best gig I have ever seen. What this breathtaking show proved, yet again, was that Garfunkel needs Simon's songs to give of his best, and Simon needs this sexagenarian choirboy to realise much of his finest work.
The two are, as the song says, bookends between which some of the finest songs of the rock `n' roll age remain wedged.
JULY 8 (DALLAS)
by Robert Philpot
Duo don't rest on their laurels
The first couple of songs in Simon & Garfunkel's concert Thursday night at the American Airlines Center -- Old Friends/Bookends and A Hazy Shade of Winter -- were, in part at least, about growing old. The next songs -- I Am a Rock and America -- were about alienation, loneliness and searching.
That set a wistful mood, as did the decades-spanning video montage that preceded the show. And with all the nostalgic fans in the house, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel could have coasted on that wistfulness. The audience was so receptive, in fact, that they could have just stood there while their records played and still received applause.
But these are two guys celebrating the 50th anniversary of a sometimes combative friendship (or, as Simon put it, they were also celebrating 48 years of arguing), and they weren't in the mood to coast. Simon & Garfunkel packed the concert with surprises, such as stretched-out arrangements of familiar songs (Homeward Bound, Mrs. Robinson) and a bit of unexpected instrumentation (a Theremin -- a device that creates that weird, wavy sound you hear on the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations) during The Boxer.
The best surprise, though, was the way the Everly Brothers, who were announced as an opening act, became an integral part of the main concert.
Praising the Everlys as influences, the headline duo brought Phil and Don Everly (another pair known for their squabbles) on stage for a three-song set of familiar hits such as Wake Up Little Suzie while Simon & Garfunkel took a break. S&G then joined the Everlys for a rousing version of Bye, Bye Love.
It was an unusually affecting tribute, especially since the Everlys' older voices seem less weathered by the years than the younger headliners' do. The Everlys, in fact, sounded just as good as they did in their prime.
Simon & Garfunkel were a little more ragged, but maybe not as much as you would expect. Backed by a seven-piece band that gave a rich, full sound to many of the arrangements, the singers adjusted for the bits of range they've lost with age; if Garfunkel's famed high, clear tenor was more hoarse than in the angelic old days, he still belted out Bridge Over Troubled Water with a confident, emotional bellow. Simon and Garfunkel alternated verses on Bridge and American Tune, which, combined with another poignant Simon song, the lesser-known Only Living Boy in New York, made for a touching end to the pre-encore portion of the concert.
There were more good moments than can be squeezed into a quick review, and the thing is, Simon & Garfunkel didn't have to be this good. But not only are they old friends, they're also old pros as well.
JULY 7 (HOUSTON)
by Michael D. Clark
Simon & Garfunkel Are Back In Harmony
The irony of Simon & Garfunkel opening their first Houston concert in 34 years with the subtle strum of Old Friends could not have been lost on the near-capacity crowd at the Toyota Center Wednesday night.
The joke certainly wasn't lost on Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, two iconic folkies who sang about peace in the '60s, but have spent the following decades squabbling and staying away from each other.
On Wednesday one of rock 'n' roll's most dubiously celebrated feuds was put aside for a night of Simon & Garfunkel hits, solo gems and a short set by the duo's mentors, the Everly Brothers. It was a historic event and made one feel gratified to have been there and puzzled as to why to "old friends" couldn't get it together enough to get back to Houston before this. They hadn't performed together here since 1968.
If Simon and Garfunkel truly were the best of buds, the fact that this reunion tour, their first since 1983, wouldn't be nearly the historic rock 'n' roll event it has become. Five years ago, the idea that the new millennium would ever see the most celebrated folk rockers of the '60s whip through 23 songs was fantasy.
At the duo's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inception several years ago, Simon said he had hoped that he and Garfunkel could iron out their differences. He quickly added, "No rush."
On Wednesday, Simon & Garfunkel sang songs that marked time in voices that sound preserved by science.
"So it's Houston at last," Garfunkel said. "I know it's taken us years to get this together, but I'm thrilled to be in your town."
Simon and Garfunkel, both 62 years old, finally let bygones be bygones.
One thing's for sure. If this was their last stand, they went out on an Art Garfunkel-like high note.
The show opened with a timeline of Simon & Garfunkel family pictures interspersed with the historic moments that paralleled their friendship that began in elementary school. In the '50s it was clean-cut school boys performing as Tom & Jerry cut with shots of Mickey Mantle hitting for the New York Yankees. The '60s era that made them legends showed Equal Rights marches and Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. The short film ended at the steps of the Toyota Center last night.
Appearing in front of two center stage mics, Wednesday's version of Old Friends began as a low warble with only Simon's acoustic guitar for accompaniment. It sounded like age might have taken a slight toll on their voices until Garfunkel let the first soaring notes of his tenor rise above the strum. All of a sudden the nostalgia of the '60s came alive for baby boomers, while those who came after got a taste of the experience.
While Simon & Garfunkel are considered mellow, on songs like America and At The Zoo the diminutive Simon demonstrated how he could still straddle a phantom pony and throw his guitar around for punctuation. I Am a Rock from 1966's Sounds of Silence is proof-positive of just how much more powerful these two voices are together than apart.
They could rock, but Simon & Garfunkel were rooted in the traditions of socially conscious and journal entry folk. Kathy's Song, about their days busking in England, is not one of their best-known. With Garfunkel crooning alone on a stool and Simon behind him strumming light strings, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful arrangements of the evening.
"It's very easy to sing when the songs are that good," Garfunkel said in a gesture of kindness to songwriter Simon.
This tour is supposed to be about "old friends" Simon & Garfunkel, but the four-song set by the Everlys, including Wake Up Little Susie, Dream and Let It Be Me was a showcase for just how well this influential duo has kept in excellent voice.
The Everly Brothers invited Simon & Garfunkel back on stage for their final song, Bye Bye Love. It was one of those moments that you know cannot be topped. The headliners tried, however, pulling out all the stops for the show's second half.
The ominous hum of Scarborough Fair gave way to Simon & Garfunkel's phantom vocals, triangle chimes and bubbling sounds used as percussive accessories. A brushed shimmy on a snare introduced Homeward Bound, another song from 1966's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Simon's guitar solo and piano vamp left Garfunkel a bit of a spectator. It was the first song of the night that felt like it belonged solely to Simon. More followed: his post-S&G solo work, Slip Slidin' Away and American Tune.
The Toyota Center crowd concentrated for the entire evening, but stirring renditions of The Sound of Silence, Mrs. Robinson and Bridge Over Troubled Water made the arena vacuum silent. It felt like time had stopped.
JUNE 29 (SALT LAKE CITY) PREVIEW
by Tom Wharton
Revisiting Days of the Troubadour
Can you imagine us,
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange To be seventy.
-- Paul Simon, "Old Friends"
I don't remember if Simon and Garfunkel sang "Old Friends" when I first saw them play the old Salt Palace in the early 1970s.
Many of us were young and righteous in those days, filled with idealism mixed with rage over Vietnam and civil rights. Our youthful leaders told us to never trust anyone over 30. The poets of our age, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, put those feelings into words and music.
In those days, who among us could imagine approaching 60, much less 70?
There was a big world out there to be changed and we thought we would do just that. Songs such as Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son," Simon's "The Sounds of Silence" and Dylan's "The Times They Are a Changing" gave voice to our generation.
Those of us who will pay up to $150 a seat Tuesday night to see the Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour at the Delta Center can only wonder.
Are these heroes of our youth still the idealists who sang against nuclear war, materialism and racism?
Has Simon changed that much since he played the Salt Palace in 1991 hours after the first Gulf War started, opening the evening with a soft prayer and then playing and singing so hard it almost seemed as though he thought he could stop the war with the power of his music?
During a time when Dylan appears in a Victoria's Secret television commercial, are Simon and Garfunkel still about idealism? Or, is this long-awaited reunion tour more about the money, a chance to cash in on aging baby boomers like me still searching for some idealism in a cynical world?
The lyrics of another song from my youth, a novelty piece called "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, come to mind:
Well, we're big rock singers
We've got golden fingers And we're loved everywhere we go.
We sing about beauty
and we sing about truth
For Ten Thousand Dollars a Show
Of course, nearly all of us have compromised our ideals as we have aged. We do, after all, need to put food on the table for our kids, plan for our retirement and save for a rainy day. We want our children to have homes and college educations and, if we have to eat a bit of our idealism, so be it. Woe to the politician who asks us to pay more taxes for the common good.
We still crave reminders of a different time of life when we searched for America together. In our hearts, most of us want to help "the Little Sparrows" of Simon's idealistic song.
Perhaps that is why we will flock to the Delta Center or Usana to hear the remnants of The Grateful Dead on Tuesday.
Or, more likely, did we make too much of the musical ramblings of the Simons and Dylans of our youth, poets just as messed up as we were trying simply make a living using their God-given talents?
We will go to Simon and Garfunkel mostly to be entertained, to remember some good times and to marvel at the beauty of wonderful voices, great guitar music and inspiring if sometimes mysterious words.
Perhaps, in the end, Simon and Garfunkel and the other great folk singers of our generation were more about the music and less about the message than we ever dreamed.
And maybe, just maybe, that is not a bad thing
JUNE 27 (OMAHA)
Omaha World Herald
by Niz Proskocil
Old friends captivate Omaha crowd
Pat and Janet Dunlap drove two hours and plunked down nearly the equivalent of a car payment to see Simon & Garfunkel's concert Sunday night at the Qwest Center Omaha.
Simon and Garfunkel win over a packed house. But after witnessing the legendary folk-pop duo's impressive two-hour performance, the Dunlaps, from Norfolk, Neb., had no misgivings about shelling out nearly $300 for a pair of tickets. "They did so many of their top hits," 51-year-old Pat Dunlap said after the show. "It was excellent."
Judging from the worshipful audience that numbered nearly 14,500, it seemed other fans felt the same way, too.
When the lights went down at 8:30 p.m., various scenes from the 1960s to modern times and old footage of Simon & Garfunkel flashed on giant projection screens.
Moments later, a spotlight illuminated singer-guitarist Paul Simon and vocalist Art Garfunkel amid a deafening roar of cheers and applause from the mainly 40-and-over crowd.
Sunday's performance was the second time the 62-year-old minstrels have played Omaha. On Nov. 15, 1968, the boyhood pals drew more than 8,100 fans to the Civic Auditorium for a performance about which a reviewer wrote: "The audience belonged to the performers."
That also was the case Sunday night as fans listened attentively and clapped appreciatively while the pair treated the crowd to a catalog of greatest hits from 1964 to 1970.
Backed by an impeccable seven-piece band, Simon & Garfunkel started off with "Old Friends" and "Bookends." A string of hits followed, including "Hazy Shade of Winter," "I Am a Rock," "America," "At the Zoo" and "Baby Driver."
Before launching into "Kathy's Song," Garfunkel introduced it as "Paul's most beautiful love song."
Though the performers, both 62, have far less hair and more wrinkles than in their heyday, their vocal range, stellar musicianship and soaring harmonies remain.
The '60s icons hushed the crowd during a goosebump-inducing rendition of "The Sound of Silence," which drew one of several standing ovations of the night.
The troubadours raised the crowd's spirits with "Mrs. Robinson," which was preceded by a clip from the 1968 film "The Graduate."
They drew laughs from the crowd when Simon said, "We started to sing together at age 13. We started to argue when we were 14. We don't argue anymore. We're exhausted."
The remark segued into a rendition of "Hey, Schoolgirl," which the pair recorded in 1957 under the name Tom & Jerry.
Shortly afterward, the singers introduced their idols - '50s pop duo the Everly Brothers. Don and Phil Everly proceeded to show off their tight harmonies with the songs "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Let It Be Me" and "Bye Bye Love." The latter song featured Simon and Garfunkel, too.
Other highlights of the concert included "The Only Living Boy in New York," "El Condor Pasa" and Simon's solo hit, "Slip Slidin' Away."
Simon & Garfunkel closed their set with the majestic "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which prompted a standing ovation from fans who weren't ready to say goodbye.
The duo returned for two encores, which included "Cecilia," "The Boxer," "Leaves That Are Green" and the final number, "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)."
JUNE 26 (ST. LOUIS)
St. Louis Today
by Barry Gilbert
About 30 years ago, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang the line, "How terribly strange to be 70." For the singers and many of their fans, that point is a lot closer than it used to be.
Simon and Garfunkel, both 62, old and often-battling friends, performed for about 14,000 other friends at Savvis Center on Saturday night. The nostalgia appeal was undeniable, but so was the magnificent music in the two-hour show.
Unfortunately, fans looking for an onstage love fest had to make do with only the emotional tug of the music because there was little interaction between the two men, who first met in grade school in Queens in New York. Garfunkel and an uncharacteristically hatless Simon stood shoulder to shoulder but rarely looked at each other, and it wasn't until taking bows before the first of two encores that they touched, throwing their arms - briefly - around each other's shoulders.
The majority of the crowd was middle-aged but included many teenagers in groups and smaller kids with their parents.
An opening montage on video screens showed images from the performers' childhoods up to the present, making stops at civil rights rallies, anti-war marches, Woodstock and other cultural touchstones.
Accompanying the video was an instrumental version of "Old Friends," and when the lights came up on stage, the old friends were singing that signature song, and the crowd stood and roared.
Following "Old Friends," the duo ran through six more songs, including "I Am a Rock," "America" and "Kathy's Song" before turning the stage over to their musical heroes, the Everly Brothers, for a strong miniset of four songs. The Everlys also have feuded over the years, but you'd never have known it from their warm stage demeanor.
Simon and Garfunkel, who recorded the Everlys' "Bye Bye Love," joined the brothers for a loose and rocking version of that song, including Garfunkel on air guitar.
Clearly many people had waited many years to see Simon and Garfunkel, who have not appeared together on tour in 20 years.
Emily Bates, 16, of Chesterfield, became a fan through her parents, who were watching the "Concert from Central Park" on TV five years ago.
"My mom called me in and said, 'Look at these guys,'" Bates said. "And I really loved the simplicity - that it was just two guys and great harmonies and it was pure and relaxing."
Diana McGinness saw Simon and Garfunkel when they played the old Kiel Auditorium in 1968 and remembers that "they were fabulous" then. McGinness, a 1968 Granite City High School graduate who now lives in Seattle, attended Saturday with daughter Julie Meyer, who bought tickets as a Mother's Day present.
On stage, Garfunkel noted that this tour marked the 50th anniversary of the pair's friendship. Simon, alluding to their years-long estrangement, joked that the tour also is the 48th anniversary of their first argument.
The six-time Grammy winners stuck to the Simon and Garfunkel catalog, with the exception of "Hey Schoolgirl," a Top 50, Everlys-modeled single they recorded as Tom & Jerry in the late '50s, and Simon's solo "Slip Slidin' Away," which he said should have been an S&G song.
A rocking "Mrs. Robinson" was preceded by a video montage from the film "The Graduate," and the main set closed, of course, with "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The duo shared the verses in an affecting performance.
Two encores included "Cecilia" and "The Boxer," and the evening ended with everybody "Feelin' Groovy," also known as "The 59th Street Bridge Song."
The impact of the pair's music is remarkable considering that their formal association lasted only seven years and five albums before they broke up in 1970. But the passing years have only amplified its depth and beauty.
JUNE 22 (NASHVILLE)
by Peter Cooper
Simon & Garfunkel stellar, as usual
Simon & Garfunkel didn't surprise last
night at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. They weren't supposed to. Anyone who
had snooped around on various Internet sites could have secured a set list,
which was the same in Philadelphia, Cincinnati or Buffalo as it was in
Nashville. Anyone could have surmised that Art Garfunkel would be gracious and
involved, and most would have hoped that Paul Simon would, at least, act like
the whole ordeal was more fun than a trip to the dentist.
Nostalgia was the order of the evening, and nostalgia can be a powerful thing when added to a set of era-defining, Simon-penned songs and bolstered with gorgeous harmony.
''This is an early song. They're all early
songs,'' a stone-faced Simon said, introducing Leaves That Are Green at the
onset of a second encore. Leaves was among the most obscure compositions in a
night that included runs through hits including Homeward Bound, Sounds of
Silence, Mrs. Robinson, Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Boxer.
This was, as Simon has made clear, intended as a ''goodbye'' tour. The arrangements were crisp and the performances were, at times, exultant. The show began with an acoustic performance of Old Friends, with Garfunkel singing high harmonies while Simon sang underneath and played characteristically beautiful guitar.
From there, the show progressed into something less than revelatory yet never less than heartfelt. Though Simon wrote most of the songs, Garfunkel gave the most in performance, delivering Simon's melodies and lyrics with the ardor of someone who had been sufficiently moved.
Onstage, Simon seemed more than ''a rock'' or ''an island,'' as he played acoustic guitar with the feeling of one who fully comprehended and appreciated the emotions that run through Kathy's Song, Homeward Bound and Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Mid-set, Simon & Garfunkel brought
Country Music Hall of Fame duo The Everly Brothers onstage for four songs: Wake
Up Little Susie, Dream, Let It Be Me and Bye Bye Love. The Everlys' inclusion
was intended as a nod to Simon & Garfunkel's heroes and as an acknowledgment
of the headlining duo's debt to 1950s rock 'n' roll.
Simon & Garfunkel also owe a debt to each other, though neither's obligation was sufficiently acknowledged last night. Garfunkel's sweet-but-sandy, gorgeous voice has always been a wondrous conduit for Simon's lyrics and melodies, and Garfunkel is assuredly glad that he happened upon a composer of Simon's magnitude.
''How terribly strange to be 70,'' sang the duo, in the show-opening Old Friends. That's a true sentiment, yet not so far removed from the 62-year-old players. The audience seemed sufficiently stultified by the implications of that song, while remaining happy to clap along to lighter fare like At The Zoo and The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy).
''It's pretty easy to sing when the songs are this good,'' Garfunkel said, and he was right on target. Garfunkel's partner may have written better songs (see Hearts and Bones and The Late, Great Johnny Ace for details), but he never wrote anything that resonated more than the compositions he wrote to sing with his childhood friend.
Hazy Shade of Winter
I Am A Rock
At the Zoo/Baby Driver
Wake Up Little Susie (Everly Brothers)
Dream (Everly Brothers)
Let It Be Me (Everly Brothers)
Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel)
Sound Of Silence
Slip Slidin' Away
El Condor Pasa
Keep The Customer Satisfied
The Only Living Boy In New York
My Little Town
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Leaves That Are Green
The 59th St. Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)
by Jeff Miers
Simon and Garfunkel span the generations with reworked favorites
Somewhere in a burst of glory/Sound becomes a song/I'm bound to tell a story/That's where I belong."
With these words, Paul Simon opened his most recent album, 2001's "You're the One." They smack of self-awareness, of an understanding of one's place in the world, these lyrics. Simon has aged gracefully; his latter-period solo albums reveal an artist who knows exactly where he "belongs."
For several generations of fans, however, where Simon belongs is on stage with his oldest friend and musical sparring partner, the man who gave voice to so many of Simon's timeless songs, Art Garfunkel.
For these folks, the Simon & Garfunkel reunion tour, which stopped in HSBC Arena on Thursday, is a gift from the gods. It's a gift that came with a pretty serious price tag - as much as $185 for the best seats, which, if it isn't unconscionable, is pretty darn close, especially in an economically-depressed area like Buffalo. But it was a gift, nonetheless.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the first time they joined voices, Simon and Garfunkel offered a set of inspired and often reworked songs from their brief but brilliant run of albums between 1964 and 1970.
Many of these songs - all written by Simon - number among the finest American tunes of the previous century. Simon is clearly the most significant rock-related songwriter this side of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. His lyrics, with a few early exceptions, are incisive poetry that, whether they intended to or not, captured the zeitgeist and framed a generation. Musically, Simon blended pop, doo wop, early rock 'n' roll, folk, jazz, classical and, later, world music, most prominently from Africa.
And with Garfunkel by his side, all of these influences were given wings to soar, as the pair's harmony - initially based on the Everly Brothers, but later, pulling from a much broader palate - became as much a part of the public's consciousness as the political assassinations, civil rights struggles and forays into outer space that marked the decade they emerged from.
That's a lot to live up to. Happily, the duo, backed by an outstanding ensemble of musicians, was more than up to the task.
Opening with a quartet of tunes that left the listener breathless and bedazzled by their scope, lyrical beauty and harmonic majesty, Simon and Garfunkel made it clear that they hadn't come to run through carbon-copy versions of the most-loved songs from their oeuvre. Throughout the evening, they'd unveil brand new arrangements for the material, in the process, ensuring that the songs would still have meaning for themselves, and challenging the audience's expectations.
"Old Friends/Bookends" was a wise choice for opening number, as its significance for the duo has been underscored as they journey toward their middle-60s. "Preserve your memories/they're all that's left you," the pair harmonized, and yes, the gooseflesh made its presence known.
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" followed, and the full band kicked in, propelled by the unbelievably deep-in-the-pocket feel of legendary drummer Jim Keltner, perhaps best known for his work with Neil Young and George Harrison. Nearly 40 years on, the tune's willful blending of folk melodies and psychedelic pop still sounded forward-looking, ahead of its time, or outside of time altogether.
"I Am a Rock" was gorgeous in its new, slowed-down, laid-back garb; the pair wrung deep emotion from the song's chorus, and Garfunkel nailed the high harmony with what appeared to be little effort. Garfunkel introduced Simon's "Kathy's Song" as "one of the most beautiful love songs Paul's ever written," and only a fool would disagree. Though most in attendance were probably familiar with the live version, with vocals by Simon, that appears on the "Greatest Hits" collection, Garfunkel grabbed the mic this time around, and his singing was simply sublime.
"And as I watch the drops of rain/weave their weary paths and die/I know that I am like the rain/There, but for the grace of you, go I."
There shouldn't have been a dry eye in the house.
After a humorous run-through of their history together, the two introduced the Everly Brothers, acknowledging their indelible influence. Phil and Don Everly walked on to a standing ovation, and then proceeded to earn every minute of it with a three-song set - "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and "Let It Be Me" - highlighted by the delicate, deeply-moving interplay of their vocal harmonies. The Everly's two-part harmonies, married to rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, pop and country influences, remain a significant part of popular music's development, and though their voices are a bit thinner, Phil and Don still sounded fantastic.
By now, the crowd - a bit staid at first, despite the strength of the music - was in Simon and Garfunkel's palm, and musicians and audience rode out the rest of the set in a state of euphoria.
"Scarborough Fair," "Homeward Bound," "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," "El Condor Pasa," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (with shared vocal duties), "Cecilia," "The Boxer," "Leaves That Are Green," "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" - all were played with significant emotional investment, the surprising, if subtle, shifts in arrangement and tempo making it clear that this was no mere "greatest hits" jukebox.
There were several moments that stood above the rest, and one of them was the duo's version of Simon's solo hit "Slip Slidin' Away," which featured dead-on harmonies and an elegant, laid-back groove. "The Only Living Boy in New York," from the pair's swan-song masterpiece, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," was absolutely breathtaking, particularly in its mid-tune vocal harmony section, during which Simon and Garfunkel were joined by their keyboardist/background vocalist in a three-part cluster that easily matched efforts from around that same period by the Beatles and Beach Boys. It was incredible.
"American Tune," this time featuring verse trade-offs between Simon and Garfunkel, and bolstered by a throaty cello from guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Stuart, framed the night perfectly, and made it clear that these songs, our own old friends for so many years now, have lost none of their meaning.
JUNE 16 (PITTSBURGH)
by Scott Mervis
Simon & Garfunkel still fresh after all these years
"Here's an early song," Paul Simon said, introducing one of the encores. "Well," he smiled, "they're all early songs ... It's only us who are getting late." To which we can add, better late than never. It took Simon and Garfunkel 20 years to get back on a stage together, time lost, judging by their stunning performance Wednesday night at the Mellon Arena.
The famed duo set the stage with a video montage of America's evolution through the decades, then zeroed in on the one where they made their mark: the '60s. For the next two hours, Simon and Garfunkel revisited their heyday, putting fresh twists on songs so good they never really get old.
The very first one, "Old Friends," had a bit of an "uh-oh" factor, as the pair didn't seem up to the challenge of the delicate harmonies. Garfunkel, the one you need for the high notes, sounded particularly husky, and a song or two later you could see him back away from the mike and cough. The first thought for the people down in the $190 seats had to be "Uh-oh, Art's gotta cold." Fortunately, Art got rid of the frog quickly, and by the time he needed to soar on the end of "America," the fourth song, the tall curly one was all there.
Now, there are two ways for classic artists to avoid the nostalgia trip: either inject new material or freshen the old. S&G, nicely, choose the latter, and to do that, they had a dream band that could go all guns blazing on "Hazy Shade of Winter" one minute and sound like Weather Report the next. It started with one of the greatest living drummers, Jim Keltner, who adds color and knows just where to turn the beats. The six-piece backing band also included percussionist Jamey Haddad and a pair of crack guitarists, Mark Stuart and Larry Saltzman, not to mention Simon, who knows his way around the neck.
Almost every song included some sweet twist, a perfect example being "Homeward Bound," a once simple tune that now grooved on a country beat before sliding into jam that had Saltzman juxtaposing his flamenco solo with a touch of ambient Metheny from Stuart. "I Am a Rock" was slow and forceful. "At the Zoo" rocked joyously into "Baby Driver." In the middle of the set, they took time to reminisce.
When Garfunkel mentioned their grade-school production of "Alice in Wonderland," Simon said dryly, "I was just coming out of a fifth-grade production of 'Death of a Salesman' and was looking for a change of pace. When I got a chance to play the White Rabbit, I leapt at it."
Their journey back led into "Hey, Schoolgirl" and a discussion of their boyhood idols, the Everly Brothers, who -- voila -- happened to be waiting backstage. Anyone expecting a pair of old guys doddering out had to be shocked when Don and Phil bounded on the stage with matching black acoustics, looking like pumped-up versions of their old selves. They sounded great on a country-inflected "Wake Up Little Susie" and a fragile "All I Have to Do is Dream" and were joined by Simon and Garfunkel for a rousing version of "Bye Bye Love."
S&G then ventured into a second set that started with a gorgeous "Scarborough Fair" and went on to include everything the fans could have wanted: a half-acoustic, half-electric "Sound of Silence"; a driving "Mrs. Robinson" that included breaks for scratch funk and bossa nova; a "Cecilia" that was pure jubilation; the obligatory soaring version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" played as South African township jive with mellotron and didgeridoo.
Two songs in the second set stood out for what could have been, had the old friends been better friends. "This song was not recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, but it should have been," Simon admitted, introducing a "Slip Slidin' Away" that, with Garfunkel, took on new poignancy. On "American Tune," Garfunkel said, "I wish I could have gotten to this song before the two of us split." And he was right. Not to be second guessing Simon's mostly brilliant, Hall of Fame solo career, but there were times when Garfunkel should have been by his side, lifting those songs with his tender harmonies.
So, if this was just a one-off, that's fine. We had a beautiful night. But with both of them still in good voice at a young 62, perhaps this is the reunion that will lead them back into the studio after a 34-year hiatus. Just another opportunity for the Rabbit to leap at.