Mind you, this was last fall, so I will try to recall as best I can. I was blown away by this concert. It started about 30 minutes late, but when the lights went down and america played while the video montage was shown, it was amazing. Looking at other set lists for other shows, it appears the same songs were played it the same order, however one of the songs they played towards the end was one that they said they had not played live in some 30 years or so. I dont remember what song it was. At one point in the show, paul simon began to play a completely different song than the rest of the band, so they had to start over, and they had a good laugh about it. During one of pauls guitar solos art walked over and tuned pauls guitar while he played. It seemed most people were surprised the everely brothers were also on hand. For the most part people sat down, except for the big hits. The lighting was amazing and I walked away thinking it was a powerful show, certainly worth the 150 I payed for a solid seat. It was a pleasant contrast to see them actually moving around the stage, instead of simply standing in one place and singing, like they often are seen doing in older footage from concerts from years ago. It was an amazing concert.
Old friends back at it again by Michael Senft
The legendary squabbling between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel was not in evidence Sunday night as the sixties folksingers brought their ´Old Friends´ tour to America West Arena. Although the pair looked uncomfortable earlier this year when they reunited at the Grammys, they were smiling and joking throughout the concert, the duo´s first in the Valley in over 30 years. While they didn´t look completely at ease with each other, they were certainly enjoying the nostalgic vibe of the show.
Thankfully, Garfunkel´s recent vocal problems were also absent. After taking the stage to a video montage highlighting their careers as well as current events of the past 50 years, the pair launched into an acoustic performance of ´Old Friends,´ reminiscent of their coffeehouse days in Greenwich Village, even in front of the packed house. Garfunkel´s high tenor was a little shaky during the touching tune, but he quickly gained a stronger command during the second number, a rocking, full-band arrangement of ´Hazy Shade of Winter.´ Sublime versions of ´I Am a Rock´ and ´America´ followed, and Garfunkel´s voice never wavered throughout the rest of the two-hour show.
Unlike their previous reunion at Central Park, the pair avoided much of Simon´s lengthy solo career. Only two songs were played, ´Slip Slidin´ Away,´ which prompted Garfunkel to say he wished they hadn´t broken up so he could have sang it originally, and ´American Tune´ with Garfunkel taking the lead vocals.
Instead, the two played all of their hits and several obscure tracks like ´Kathy´s Song,´ which Garfunkel introduced by telling a story about the pair´s days as starving musicians on the streets of London.
They also joked about their on-again, mostly off-again friendship.
´We´ve been friends for 50 years, with a few years apart,´ Garfunkel said, to which Simon replied that it had been only 47 since their first argument.
They then performed their first hit, ´Hey School Girl.´ Recorded as Tom and Jerry in 1957. It also served as an effective introduction for the Everlys, who made a not-too-surprising guest appearance at the show.
The ´50s rock siblings, also known for their onstage arguments and on-again, off-again friendship, played a short, four-song set of their biggest hits, including ´Wake Up Little Susie´ and ´Bye Bye Love,´ which also included Simon and Garfunkel´s harmonies.
After the Everlys left, Simon and Garfunkel continued with a moving, elegiac version of ´Scarborough Fair,´ lacking only the ´Canticle´ counterpoint of the original hit. Following a brief flub from Simon, who started playing the wrong tune, the tempo picked up with ´Homeward Bound,´ followed by a beautiful version of ´Sounds of Silence.´ The audience roared as spotlights hit the crowd to the line ´10,000 people, maybe more.´
A video montage of scenes from The Graduate introduced ´Mrs. Robinson´
The crowd sat in reverence through most of the show, only getting to its feet to dance to ´My Little Town,´ Simon and Garfunkel´s mid-seventies reunion hit.
Garfunkel´s signature tune, the hauntingly beautiful ´Bridge Over Troubled Water,´ closed the set, but the duo returned quickly for the encores.
A rollicking ´Cecilia´ got the crowd on its feet again, and ´The Boxer´ became a sing-a-long, with the audience delivering the ´Lie la lie´ chorus. The tune also featured a Theremin solo, one of several odd instruments pulled out during the encores.
Simon and Garfunkel returned for a second pair of encores, starting with a spare version of ´The Leaves That Are Green´ which Garfunkel said they hadn´t performed since 1967. This was followed by a joyful ´Feelin´ Groovy´ which included a slide didgeridoo solo.
It was the perfect ending to this once-in-a-lifetime event. Better to see these old friends celebrating their legacy rather than squabbling about it.