Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ART GARFUNKEL - A Guest Concert Review

There has been much talk these past few months about Paul Simon embarking on his farewell tour ... early reports state that it's a must-see event.  (Opening night he came back for three encores ... a total of NINE SONGS!!!  Who does that?!?!  That's almost a whole 'nother show all by itself!)

But there's been very little fanfare for Art Garfunkel's current tour ... despite the fact that literally every single show is selling out across the boards.  

I had the good fortune to see both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in their early solo days ... Paul during his 1972 "Rhymin' Simon" tour and Art shortly thereafter when he was touring behind his "Breakway" album, still one of my all-time faves.

But I never had the chance to see the two of them together.  (Their last stop here in Chicago was at Comiskey Park ages ago ... and, incredibly, I couldn't find ANYBODY who wanted to go see the show with me ... despite knowing full well that this would likely be their last go-round as a duo.  I still regret missing it to this day.)

But I did get to see the Madison Square Garden DVD ... and despite all the bad blood that may have circled around them in the nearly fifty years since their 1970 break-up, they were able to pull it all together, set their differences aside, and put on an amazing, goosebump-inducing show.

Today, East Coast Forgotten Hits Field Reporter Shelley Sweet-Tufano tells us about the Art Garfunkel show she saw last week in Tarrytown.  (Art's recent shows at Chicago's City Winery were immediate sell-outs ... so I missed those, too!)  As such, today I get to live vicariously through Shelley's words ... and suggest that you do the same.  (kk)

When I left my home and my family, I was no more than a boy ….
Running scared, laying low …
Asking only workman’s wages …  

Ah yes, ‘The Boxer’ ... but also a peek into Art Garfunkel’s early musical career?  

They told me the sound check lasted much longer than planned, and therefore the doors for the 8:00 pm concert would not open till 7:30pm. Then I get the “rules”:  
The usher says it all with a smile. 
I can see the stage clearly from my balcony seat and I am finally seeing half of my son’s favorite duo live. Should I get my feathers ruffled? I smooth them down, and smile.  

When he walks out on the stage, alone, at 8:12pm there is thunderous applause. History walking before us. He is followed soon after by Dave MacKay and Tab Laven. As he addresses us, the audience, he explains his show. There are songs (thank goodness, and expected) but poems from his book, “what is it all but luminous,” (not a mistake … all lower case) will thread their way through the show.  

Art’s voice has most certainly returned in force. I believe it was around 2010 that he felt he had lost it, and retreated inward, waiting (as he states) for it to return. At 76 years young, with Paul Simon retiring, he has thrown himself back into his musical work. As he brings up in the second half of the show, “There are two ways to bring music to the world: recordings and performing.” While he would love to spend time in the studio, as he used to, working and perfecting a song … what do you do with it after that? “I’m not going on MTV. I guess I would do a Youtube. So I perform.” YAY! For us! And just maybe that is why our favorite Forgotten Hits artists DO keep performing. I like to think it is for us, but now I see it is equally for them.  

As Art reads a poem from his book, he comments, “That’s a little pompous. I can change that.” 

Highlights of the first act:
                April Come She Will
                The Boxer
                Moment In Time
                All I Know (a piano solo by Dave MacKay that took my breath away … no vocals, but wow!)
                Scarborough Fair
                The Side of the Hill
                In The Shadows (written after 9/11)
                Homeward Bound (inserting “Tarrytown” as the destination)
There are a couple more, but apparently I was listening without writing.  

After intermission, Art begins with Gershwin: ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.’  You can imagine Art’s voice swirling this song around the heads of his audience. So romantic. As I watch the people jump up for standing ovations on songs, I notice the men are jumping up first, their wives looking up at them with the, “I never thought you got this like I did” look. 

Continuing on:
                Real Emotional Girl by Randy Newman
                For Emily Whenever I May Find Her
                A wedding song Art sang as a child in the synagogue
                Bridge Over Troubled Water …original melody.   (Did you know there was one BEFORE the recording?)
                Kathy’s Song
                Sounds of Silence … with the most amazing  / powerful arrangement of guitar and keyboards! 

As an encore, Art uses ‘Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,’ ending with “Goodnight Tarrytown.”  

The poems from Art’s book are speckled with song, both actual and potential. “I’m having a great time,” he tells us.   

With so much in the gossip columns about this duo and their differences, I am both surprised and impressed that Art speaks SO HIGHLY of Paul Simon throughout the concert. No, I did not expect him to speak negatively, but he might not have referenced him at all had he chosen. My favorite statement of the night from the stage: “I chase after the goosebumps.”  

I sure experienced them … over and over. 

Simon and Garfunkel were our cutting edge when it came to duo harmonies, love songs (notice all the women who got their names in the titles), protest and basic life lessons that could be put into words and melody.  OK, son of mine … wait till you see your Fathers’ Day and Birthday gifts. Good timing for me on this concert, Mr. Garfunkel.  

A summer rarity ... and in June we return to Tarrytown for The Happy Together Tour.  

-- Shelley J Sweet-Tufano