Julie and I spent last Saturday evening at Charlotte’s Knight Theater taking in The Simon & Garfunkel Story.
The “story” consists of two men who bear an uncanny vocal and physical resemblance to the original Art and Paul, singing the duo’s best songs with a smattering of storytelling mixed in.
Here are five reflections from the evening:
The original duo were fans of the Everly Brothers. This I had not known. They sang “Bye Bye Love” in homage to their forbears in the world of pop and rock.
One had the gift; the other had the talent. Garfunkel’s voice was a gift from heaven (consider the end of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”) while Simon had the talent for both composing songs musically and writing them lyrically.
The visual imagery during the show made unmistakable the link between Simon & Garfunkel’s songs and the time in which they were written. The March on Washing, the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, the moon landing, the MLK & RFK assassinations, Woodstock … all of it gave depth and resonance to songs like “America,” and “Homeward Bound.
The show tried to downplay the disparity in the post-breakup careers of the two men … but you can’t hide the truth. Garfunkel had roles in a few films and published volumes of poetry. Simon collected Grammys the way some people collect stamps. When the band played the music track for “You Can Call Me Al” I longed for a show of Simon’s solo stuff.
Why isn’t ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ ever on the list of Greatest Rock Songs Of All Time? Think of songs that DO make the list, like “Stairway To Heaven” or even “Hey Jude.” Both have moments where they sound like a ballad and yet both have a crescendo that overwhelms you. Check, check for Bridge. And then those vocals. I suppose S&G are too much “folk” ever to be “classic rock,” but if there was ever a time to honor a song that crosses genres, this is it.