Art Garfunkel

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Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel

Posted: 25 Sep 2015

Sage Gateshead

23 September


“I used to think a century was a long time, but some of these songs are half a century old,” commented Art Garfunkel. In fact he did as much talking as singing in a 90-minute performance before a most reverent audience at The Sage. 
Garfunkel’s pure voice provided the perfect conduit for many of Paul Simon’s classic songs during the heyday of Simon and Garfunkel, but cruelly Art suffered serious voice paralysis four years ago and feels he is now largely recovered.
“The voice is back”, he proclaimed early on, but unfortunately the honest answer is, “No it isn’t – not really.”

Given that he will turn 74 in November it would be unrealistic to dream of Garfunkel’s voice being as crystal clear as the recordings that made his name. Art did his best to perform a range of solo material, covers of favourites by people such as The Everly Brothers and of course some Simon & Garfunkel classics.

Some of his prose-poetry introductions segued seamlessly into the songs, none more so than the tale of a young Paul Simon driving over to Garfunkel’s grim New York kitchen to sing what he’d told he believed was his best song yet, as he moved into a blissful ‘Sound of Silence.’

‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Bright Eyes’ and ’99 Miles from LA’ were all on the set-list for those ticking off the classics. Of course, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ stands out as the greatest masterpiece and in a careful and clever arrangement, that spared him attempting the highest notes, a tastefully textured performance was delivered.

I saw Paul Simon perform a quarter of a century ago, but never Art Garfunkel until now. I’m pleased I finally have, but ultimately I felt I’d seen him rather than hearing him at his best.

 

Rob Mason

            

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