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Simon and Garfunkel: Old Friends Live on Stage

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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The cover of the CD

The cover of the CD

The Bottom Line

Not their best live recording (that's still a photo finish between "Live From New York City, 1967" and "The Concert In Central Park"), mainly due to the pair's somewhat tentative vocals. But the duo's gift for reinterpretation and the post-9/11 context of these protest songs still make for a riveting listen.
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Pros

  • Most of these classics are presented in slightly new arrangements.
  • The Everly Brothers duet with S&G on "Bye Bye Love."
  • There's a new studio song from the duo.

Cons

  • The pair's voices are showing their age a bit.
  • The performances are less than celebratory.

Description

  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Live
  • 2 CD / 1 DVD (optional)
  • Old Friends Tour

Guide Review - Simon and Garfunkel: Old Friends Live on Stage

Opinions differed on Simon and Garfunkel's 2003 reunion tour; were they lifelong friends reminiscing on stage, as the title suggests, or merely old pros cashing in? You can decide for yourself with the release of this 2-CD (and optional DVD) set, which cherry-picks two dozen highlights from their December 2003 shows at New Jersey’s Meadowlands and New York’s Madison Square Garden. This was the pair’s first national concert tour in twenty years or so, and that in itself makes this essential for hardcore S&G fans. As for the rest of us, well, while it is true that their angelic voices have aged, the context of a new century (not to mention the duo’s often-tumultuous realtionship) gives old songs like "America" and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” a whole new meaning. (Indeed, “The Sounds of Silence” has a reverent, ghostly hush that speaks volumes about The New Normal.)

Simon’s virtuosity on guitar – a talent completely overshadowed by his songwriting skills, sadly – also means that each of these simple folk-pop songs are arranged differently than anywhere else on record. And if that weren’t enough, there's also a duet with the Everly Brothers on "Bye Bye Love" and the duo's first new studio recording since 1975, the sardonic "Citizen of the Planet." “Who are we to demand / That the leaders of the land / Hear the voices of reason and peace?” the pair sings, and while it’s not a new classic, it IS relevant. Which is all any old folkies can ask for.

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