Friday, February 19, 2021

Simon & Garfunkel 9: Old Friends Live

Vintage concerts were one thing, but as long as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were still alive and performing separately, audiences wanted to see and hear them harmonize together. Just a few years into the century, they finally got their chance.
Old Friends: Live On Stage presents the bulk of the set from their reunion tour (extra songs were added to the DVD, which also offers the spectacle of Paul doing ill-advised rock star poses). Their voices are older, certainly, but they still have that blend. However, while the songs are recognizable, these are not carbon copies; many are transformed into the more modern sounds coming from the band, handpicked by Paul. And when they do replicate the record, as on “Hazy Shade Of Winter”, the singers have modified their parts. Though there is some overlap, it’s not a straight copy of the Central Park concert; this time out we get to hear such nuggets as “The Only Living Boy In New York”, a medley of “At The Zoo” and “Baby Driver”, “Leaves That Are Green”, and even “My Little Town”.
About halfway through the first act they chat a little bit about their youth and history together; Artie is as gracious as usual, and Paul takes the opportunity to take a few shots. They do a brief busk of “Hey Schoolgirl”, then bring out the actual Everly Brothers for a combined assault on “Bye Bye Love”. Artie sings “Kathy’s Song”, surprisingly, and trades verses with Paul on “American Tune”; “Slip Slidin’ Away” is the only other nod to either solo career. And while he cedes the second verse of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to its author, Paul’s attempts at being soulful fall flat. Finally, on a new studio song called “Citizen Of The Planet”, included as a closing “bonus”, their voices sound younger, leading us to wonder if this is an outtake from Hearts And Bones.
Maybe you had to be there, but at least this particular reunion wasn’t embarrassing, considering that at this late date they’re unlikely to try it again. It’s nice to know that while they were getting along, we get to feel it.

Simon & Garfunkel Old Friends: Live On Stage (2004)—3

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