Simon & Garfunkel 'Old Friends' Tour

AAJ Staff By

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The sound we were trying to achieve back then...was the Everly Brothers sound. —Paul Simon
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
November 2003

Chip Page, my lifelong friend, and I listened to Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends" album religiously when it first came out. (Must've been 1967.) Decades later the two minstrels are back on the road, performing the music that influenced an entire generation.

Today, we are much older, but the music seems to take you back in time. Hearing these incredible songs, gives you goosebumps and makes you take inventory on your life. Pretty heavy for a simple concert, huh?

Music has such incredible power. It really touches the soul. Certain songs transport you. I don't care what kind of music it is. But everybody has their own personal memories. It reaches deep.

That's what this particular concert was all about. It was an older crowd this November night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Lots of grey hair. A bunch of people who, when "Bookends" was released, were young curly-haired hippies. My brother, Mark, and I joked about how we didn't fit in with the crowd. (I usually need a stack of Marshall amps onstage to get me out of the house.) But here we were.

Simon and Garfunkel put aside their differences and joined each other at one of the most intimate concert halls of their 40-date coast-to-coast 2003 "Old Friends" tour. A slide-collage opened the show with shots of America's recent past. By recent, I mean from the 60s moving forward. Remember those days?

Then, the spotlight focused, the distinct sound of the harmonic duo was heard. "Old Friends/Bookends" was the opening song and set the mood for the evening.

Paul Simon looked small compared with the huge acoustic guitar he was so aptly playing. Art Garfunkel looked like he hadn't changed. They joked about how they haven't played together for so many years and then continued on as if they had done this forever.

"A Hazy Shade Of Winter", "I Am A Rock", "America", "At The Zoo", "Baby Driver", "Kathy's Song", "Hey Schoolgirl" was the opening set. At this point, Paul took the microphone, "The sound we were trying to achieve back then...was the Everly Brothers sound."

Out walks the Everly Brothers. It was a surpise to me. They sounded great. They rolled through their hits: "Wake Up Little Susie", "Dream" and "Let It Be Me". Then they were joined by Simon and Garfunkel for "Bye Bye Love". Nice.

As I scanned the audience of mostly older couples, bobbing their heads, clapping appreciatively, I remembered the frontrow-stage chaos at a Jimi Hendrix concert with my buddy Chip. That was back in the 60s, in Kansas. We are older now, but we all lived through that era. A tumultuous time.

Tonight the journey was through crap tables and slot machines to a packed concert hall for our auditory treat. The Mohegan Sun Casino is like Disneyland. (www.mohegansun.com) And they do have some great concerts here.

Simon and Garfunkel continued their moving musical walk through the past. "Scarborough Fair", "Homeward Bound", "The Sound Of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson", "Slip Slidin' Away"...I mean...how many hits did these guys have? They rivaled the Beatles.

Did I mention they brought a killer band with them? All top studio type guys. Handpicked, I'm sure, by Paul. They really filled out the sound.
Many jazz musicians have done their interpretation of Simon and Garfunkel music. One that immediately comes to mind is Paul Desmond's version of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

All in all, it was a necessary concert to attend. Music refreshes and rejuvenates. Music is good. This was history. Jazz, Blues, Rock, Pop, Folk...there's something there for everyone. Tonight it was Simon and Garfunkel... a piece of Americana.

Visit Simon and Garfunkel on the web at www.simonandgarfunkel.com .

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