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July 31, 2004 - Italy
Rome - Colosseum
Hazy Shade of Winter
I Am A Rock
At the Zoo
The Everly Brothers:
Wake Up Little Susie
Let it Be Me
Bye Bye Love (with S&G)
Sounds of Silence
Slip Slidin´ Away
El Condor Pasa
Keep the Customer Satisfied
Only Living Boy in New York
My Little Town
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Leaves That are Green
59th Street Bridge Song
The band (not all members are present at all shows)
Mark Stewart - Guitars, Cello, Saxophone, selfmade instruments
Jamey Haddad - Percussion
Rob Schwimmer - Keyboards, Theramin
Jim Keltner - Drums
Larry Saltzman - Guitar
Warren Bernhardt - Piano
Freddie Washington - Bass
Fans who attended this show
It was a once in a lifetime concert!We slept in a beautiful penthouse just a stone throw away from the colosseum. No hurry just enough time to inhale this experience minute by minute. There were two sisters with their mum standing behind me. The gospel performance from Paul on Bridge blew me away.He gave us back the roots. And as Art catched his high note....I looked behind and saw tears rolling down this mum her face.
we were lucky enough to be on holidays in Italy and joined the crowd of 600,000 for this once in a lifetime experience! They were amazing, a concert to tell generations to come about!
Posted on Sat, Jul. 31, 2004
The Miami Herald
Simon & Garfunkel Play Roman Colosseum
By FRANCES D´EMILIO
ROME - With 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.
Rome 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.
The 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.
The 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.
In separate interviews last month with The Associated Press in New York, the two artists disagreed on whether Simon & Garfunkel have a recording future.
Well I´ve just arrived in Venice from Rome. I was at the concert last night, I am travelling around Europe with a friend for the Summer and we stopped off in Paris to see the concert too. Rome was quite an experience. One that I will certainly never forget.
I went on the 30th July to the Colesseum to see the stage and the road where the audience would stand and there was a small tent on the roadside with two guitars where members of the public could play S&G songs so I stayed a while and heard 3 American guys playing America and 2 German men playing The Boxer which was quite fun. I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve, seeing Paul Simon before your very eyes isn´t something that happens every night (unfortunately). That evening I went to see Nicolas who I had met up with in Paris and we had a look at the stage and planned the strategy for the morning, he was with Claudio and we saw Mandy and Nicole camping outside the fencing of the concert area. We decided that a 7am start was the way to go and arranged to meet by the stage in the morning.
I got up, bleary eyed at 6am, got ready and headed down to the Colesseum on the Rome metro and met up with Nicolas and Jean-Christophe. A few people who had camped were still locked out of the very front section by the security. After an hour or so they moved us around halfway down the road and made us wait at a barrier. It wasn´t the most well organised event ever with regards to crowd control (an understatement). There were around a dozen security guards patroling the barrier and we were told (via the Italian fan´s translation) that we would be moved down the road section by section as the day prgressed. We met up with Claudio again and the soundcheck started around 11am and that was like a concert in itself they played Hazy Shade of Winter, America, El Condor Pasa, I Am a Rock, Keep the Customer Satisfied and Sound of Silence. My friend Paul who is travelling with me isn´t really a Simon and Garfunkel fan so he didnt really have the motivation to stand in Rome´s baking heat all day (and I don´t really blame him!) so he could stand by the side of the stage in the unpatrolled area for the soundcheck while we could only listen down the road. He said that Art´s son joined them on stage and Art was filming everything with a big camera (possibly for a DVD?) and that Paul was telling the band off, especially Warren Bernhardt about his playing on Keep the Customer Satisfied, my friend was impressed with Paul´s authority over the band, saying that everyone repected him and followed everything he said.
The day wore on it got hotter and hotter and reached 36 degrees celsius, we were burning, dehydrating and our legs were achhing, I think I nearly passed out at one point but luckily the local fire brigade (I think it was the fire brigade anyway as I couldn´t see the truck properly) sprayed us with water through a hose pipe and the red cross gave out free bottles of mineral water so we could keep cool. They kept parting the fans so that vehicles could pass down the road so it got more and more cramped and eventually all the people who were there (which could have been no more than 1000) rushed the barrier right passed security and on to the next barrier. I have never run so fast in all my life, at each point it felt like school sports day all over again but this time the prize was far greater and victory was far more important! Claudio summed it up perfectly by saying ´It´s not a case of when you turn up it´s how fast you can run and how competitive you are.´ We waited here a little longer and and the same happened and we eventually got to the final barrier without the organisers even authorising our movement down the road. The final barrier was a solid one with just two gates to gain entry to the front section. I was a little anxious but I was with Nicolas who was very competitive and a veteran at this kind of thing, he told me the strategy we would follow at each point! As people barged through the fences into the front section I saw Nicolas right at the front motioning for me to come as he had saved enough space for the four of us and so it was we stood right in front of the stage, slightly to the right (Paul´s side) for the concert! I think Paul must definitely pick the pre and post concert music as beforehand it was George Harrison and afterwards Edie Brickell.
It was a magical experience, after 15 hours in the heat S&G came on stage at 9:40pm and it felt so strange to be at the head of 600,000 people. The Colosseum was a spectacular backdrop, there were big screens everywhere, and the place was packed, it was as close as you could come to reliving the S&G central park concert and I apologise if this offends anyone but I think the music was loads better on this tour than that one, the band tighter and the arrangements finer. I love the arrangements of Hazy Shade of Winter, My Little Town, Cecilia and Feelin´ Groovy particularly the trombidoo and the stand off (which was the same as in Paris) between Mark Stewart and Rob Schwimmer. Add to this the classics (The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Homeward Bond, Sound of Silence)and Paul joining Art on Bridge, I think the harmonies on the last verse are finer than on some of the songs which were written for both voices, it was quite the event. After the Boxer and before the last encore the crowd sang ´Lie-la-lie´ for a minute or two to S&G and they looked so proud, they turned to each other as if to say ´Look, we may have had our differences but look what we have created, only we have experienced this journey which has culminated in a truly international audience of 600,000 people singing one of our songs to us in front of the Colleseum in Rome.´ I appreciate that´s a lot to read into one look but I am fairly certain I´m right, they joined in for a while and then applauded the crowd.
I thought Paul´s singing was spot on all the way through, Art strayed a little in places but nailed the Bridge note and Larry Saltzman should be a dead cert for the forthcoming (hopefully) Simon solo tour. He was brilliant.
It could be the last time S&G ever play together, I think it was worth the hard day of waiting but I felt sorry for Mandy and Nicole, they slept outside all night and really gained no advantage, there were people around us who had arrived at 3pm which made the system seem really unfair.
I will never forget this experience and I was privileged to share it with some truly nice people, Nicolas, Jean Christophe, Claudio and all the other people we met along the way. I can´t stress how historical it felt, I walked around Rome alone for an hour and half after the show, partly because I wanted to reflect and partly because I was lost but I had a great feeling of anti climax mixed with satisfaction.
I hope now that we can look forward to a Paul Simon solo album and tour after this brief but much appreciated interlude of Simon and Garfunkel. Maybe we will get a DVD of the event? It would be a shame not to have it recorded for posterity. One thing I am certain of is that it has raised the profile of Paul and Art because everyone has been talking about it. As I said I have been travelling around Europe and everyone I have met has been so jealous of me coming to these concerts... and rightly so.
Thank you for reading (if you got this far!)
I definitely was there! Yeah, let me say that once again: I WAS THERE!!! And I´m incredibily proud (much more than words can describe) to have attended this great and unforgettable event.
I came to Rome in the morning with a flight from Milan (where I live)and as soon as I checked out my hotel I stepped towards the Colosseum to have a glance of the location.
Of course the stage was already complete and a bunch of brave people were already standing there. A few pretty assistants were giving out postacards with the two ´old friends´ in the front to the people passing by.
The big mess about the capture of a very dangerous bandit (which happened quite close to the stage), stole my attention and I missed the sound check.
Anyway i got back in the early afternoon. it was supposed to be another ´touch & go´ but I noticed that the people had grew in the meantime and I said to myself ´This is the time: only the brave!´.
And I stayed. It was 3 p.m. or so.
There was an incredible hot sunshine, no clouds, no trees... NO SHADOW AT ALL! only the road. At that point there must have been a few hundreds people... we stood for a while then somebody started to sit down. We slowly did the same but the road was incredibly hot. It was like staying seated on a grill!
Well, I don´t want you to get bored any longer about that because i´m sure you are interested about the concert...
So let´s get to it! A little later than expected (9.40 p.m. instead of 9.30) the two guys suddenly appeared on the stage. I don´t know why I had imagined their appearance in a different way. I thought that the band would appear before them and that they would reach the stage in the dark... on the contrary much to my surprise they did it very humbly. In the afternoon, by the height of the microphones bar, we all knew that Paul would be on the right and art would be on the left. And so it was.
They opened up with Old Friends... and the sound seemed a little low. But as soon as the crowd stopped screaming we all could hear very well.
I myself have been playing guitar for almost 30 years now and Paul has been my vistual teacher. I can play almost any of his tunes perfectly. So once again I aimed my attention on him and on his technical way to play the guitar.
I love Paul also because he quite often makes mistakes while playing. That gives me the idea that he is ´human´ just like us. Anyway even in this concert he made some mistakes but he ´covered´ him and I am sure that most of the people didn´t even recognize them...
Paul seemed a bit sad at times (except when he explained the reason why they called themselves Tom and Jerry saying ´Well, Art was tom and I was.... oh well, it doesn´t matter...´).
Artie was on the seventh sky. He said a few words in Italian and greeted the audience with a big ´Ciao Romani!´. I´m from Milan but I pretended that the greeting was for me, too.
Musically speaking I was a bit disappointed not to see the great Steve Gadd at the drums... When I saw Paul on ´You´re The One´ tour he was the percussionist... And of course we all remember him at the ´Concert in Central Park´... (especially in ´Fifty ways to leave you lover´ and ´Late in the evening´ solo performance). Also I hoped there would be at least two or three wind instruments. In short, even if I don´t want to offend anyone, I think the band might be much better than that. The only one appreciated a great deal is that incredible guitarist with the long hair that can play almost any instruments (but I can´t recall his name now... sorry).
Paul and Art performed almost any single hit of their musical career.. the thing could be possible even because most of these songs are very short. There were a few jam session but most of the times the song was performed exactly in the oryginal version. I was so glad that among the others it was included ´The Only Living Boy in New York´... and I appreciated that Paul explained where that song came from. It was so tender to find out that it was written for Artie... that sign of friendship is much stronger than any following misunderstanding between them.
Very funny and very ´groovy´ the version of ´The 59th Street Bridge´, and again very touching when the audience unexpectely started to sing the chorus of ´The Boxer´. The two guys looked sincerely impressed and thankful of such a gift...
I must say that Artie sang very well... I have no mistakes to report. Even the hard final part of Bridge Over Troubled Water was performed perfectly. In a way it seems that the years did not pass for him (even as for his looking).
On the contrary Paul looked a bit older, maybe a little fatter than it was. He has changed a lot in the last five years (I don´t know if you agree with me)
After three encores the two guys finally left the stage... Even if there were over 600.000 people, no problems in leaving the place were reported...
While getting to my hotel I found a bunch of people singing S&G songs... I joined the group and when we stepped in front of a little Restaurant close to Via Cavour, screaming ´keep the customer satisfied´, the owner invited us in for a Pizza. There was a guitar in the Restaurant and I could play most of the songs of the concert while the people sang along. We were all strangers and yet we were one family...
Another miracle of music.
I had the big luck to stand in the first row right in front of them. I was there with my girlfreind who fighted really hard during the whole day beside me to finally get in the very first.
We met some very nice Itlian people there. Well the concert of course was tremendous. I never saw anything like it before. Although my italian friends told me that this was quite normal for Italian concerts I have to remark that it was a very dangerous situation during the whole day because nobody of the security really knew how to prevent a chaos as it was sometimes on that day. but anyway: thanks tom & jerry
That was (as a fan shouted) ´grande´
I took some fantastic pictures. Maybe I´ll send one or two to this site.
I made it to the concert, and it was one of the most stressful journies of my life. But of course, the reward was worth me doing it 10 times again:
My dad who accompanied me on this trip had meetings on the 29th so we had to book a flight for the 30th, having us arrive in Rome the next morning, the day of the concert. Before I go any further, I dn´t want to sound like some spoiled rich kid jumping on any flight she wants to: my mom is a flight attendent for Delta and we fly standby for free, so we´re never assured a seat, but if we can get one, we can go anywhere in the world for nothing. It´s magical! Our flight from Seattle to New York was 2 hours late, so when we arrived at JFK we had missed our connection flight to Rome! I was in tears. but my dad being the greatest guy in the world got us on a flight to Milan, Italy, and we regrouped. We planned to get on a short plane ride from Milan to Rome once we landed, but of course there was no room on the flight and we were forced to take a train- four and a half hours long! We were planning on getting to Rome at 10 in the morning originally, but buy the time we got there, it was 7:00 PM! I WAS SO NERVOUS!
I wanted to get there super early like all of you and meet some friends, and get a spot right in front. All the stories of people running through barriers sounds so exhilerating and FUN! But when I got to the concert sight, I only had 2 hours to make my way to the front. I felt so guilty squeezing through all the people who had been there all day, but I had to get closer! I had come all that way to see Paul and I wouldn´t settle until he was right in front of me. I jumped over barriers, ran past security guards, got caught, ran past them again, got caught, pretended to be part of families that weren´t mine so i could go through the security barriers, begged a police woman to let me go through, cried for sympathy, asked tall people if I could switch places (I´m only 5 feet 1 inch tall!), and within 10 mintues of the first song I had my hands on the front railing. I don´t think I have to tell you how great the concert was; everyone who was there knows that and you can read what they have to say. All i can say was that it was THE BEST night of my life! I cried for joy when my two favorite people on earth started singing the words of Old Friends. When Artie said ´grazie´ to the crowd, everyone around me screamed ´PREGO!!!!´ and it was magical. I´ve never heard so many people sing the words to all my favorite songs at one time! The american concerts aren´t like that. The only thing that spoiled a few minutes for me was when some Italian guys lit up a joint right next to me and weren´t even watching the concert, in the front row! I couldn´t believe it! I was a little to the left of the stage, near the piano, and I was breathless a few times when I kept realizing that They were only 20 yards away. I know I´ll never experience anything like that again.