Even though I absolutely adore the music of Simon and Garfunkel, I’ll admit that my fascination for their music is one tinged with regret. Born in 1971, I did not have a chance to see them perform together in their prime years. Granted, they’ve since reunited and toured as recently as 2003… but that’s not the same, really.
Fortunately, with the planned 2008 release of Simon and Garfunkel – Live 1969, I’ve been given a sonic glimpse of what might have been. Recorded in the fall of 1969, at perhaps the height of their fame and precarious precipice of their working relationship, this 17-song disc chronicles what would turn out to be the duo’s final tour together for over 13 years.
My initial thought, you ask? This might be the loveliest “farewell,” ever.
The fact it has taken so long to see the light of day — and to reach the ears of those it was meant to say “farewell” to — is, perhaps, something nearly as lamentable as the fact that I wasn’t even alive yet.
Beginning and ending with the simple and pure sounds of Paul and Art’s voices accompanied only by Paul’s guitar, the duo are joined onstage (for the first time ever during one of their tours, actually) by a band, and what a band! Arranged on stage were the amazing studio musicians that were the backbone of Simon And Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water album, which was set to be released shortly after these concert venues.
Hal Blaine (drums), Joe Osborn (bass), Larry Knechtel (keyboards) and Fred Carter, Jr. (guitars) — yeah, I’d say that a group worthy of joining them onstage.
Now that I’m nearly at the end of my review, I’m not sure that this has done anything to temper my regret over having been born too late to experience S&G in their prime. Instead, it’s probably added to it. Listening to the amazing versions of “The Boxer,” “Why Don’t You Write Me,” “At The Zoo,” That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine,” and “The Sound of Silence” — this album has left me in equal amounts of gratefulness and wistfulness.
But, this is a lovely album and I can’t recommend it enough. With the duo having the wonderful choices allowed by working their way through a career of amazing songs, Simon and Garfunkel – Live 1969 is armed with an amazing set list:
01. Homeward Bound
02. At The Zoo
03. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
04. Song For The Asking
05. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
06. Scarborough Fair / Canticle
07. Mrs. Robinson
08. The Boxer
09. Why Don’t You Write Me
10. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
11. That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine
12. Bridge Over Troubled Water
13. The Sound Of Silence
14. I Am A Rock
15. Old Friends / Bookends Theme
16. Leaves That Are Green
17. Kathy’s Song