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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Simon & Garfunkel in concert

We saw Simon & Garfunkel's "Old Friends" reunion tour last night in Salt Lake City. The duo got its start 50 years ago, and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest musical acts ever. The concert was a lot of fun, though it did start off a little shakily; their voices just aren't what they used to be (and understandably so). It took Art two or three numbers to really get into his game, but from that point on, they sounded great. (Paul's voice remains remarkably strong.) They brought in the Everly Brothers (one of their most important influences) for a few of their greatest hits, and the show really got going following the Everly Brothers with "Mrs. Robinson," which got the crowd on its feet and into the show. "Bridge over Troubled Water" was a huge crowd-pleaser, and the double encores included "The Boxer" and "Feeling Groovy," with which the evening ended. The numbers were interspersed with brief musings on the duo's music, history, etc.

My wife and I guesstimated the average age of the audience to be somewhere around 45, and we were definitely helping to bring down that average. As great as the show was, it was just as fun to see so many boomers in the audience dancing and singing and re-living some wonderful music and memories. I don't know that our generation has the same sort of cultural (musical) spokespeople that our parents' had. That's part of the reason we still listen to so much of their music.

It was great fun to see the two perform together, and it may well be the last time they'll do so -- at least in this type of tour. I don't know all the history between them, but there didn't seem to be a tremendous amount of chemistry between them anymore. Paul Simon appeared throughout the first few numbers to be in an unpleasant mood, and Art Garfunkel did most of the speaking throughout the evening. They both warmed up though, as did the crowd, and the concert as a whole was definitely worthwhile. I'm sure performing in a place like Salt Lake City is also quite different for them than performing in a place like New York, where they have so much history and connection.

It was a fun show, and fun to see them perform live. Despite their age, they've still got it, I think, and put on a great show for a fan base that has loved them for many, many years.

"In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminders of every glove that's laid him down and cut him till he cried out, in his anger and his pain: I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains, yes he still remains...."


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