Art Garfunkel at the London Palladium
Still best known as one half of Simon & Garfunkel – members of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame for nearly 30 years and one of the best loved duos in the history of popular music – Art Garfunkel is still out there doing his thing at the age of 75.
That pitch-perfect voice may not be as majestic as it once was, but its breathtakingly angelic quality still shines through, and tonight, promised to be the perfect venue in which to hear it – indeed the event was billed as “in close up,” appealing to those who may have previously witnessed Art Garfunkel singing with Paul Simon at a considerably larger venue during one of their sporadic reunion tours.
Due to its intimate setting and excellent sound, the Palladium has played host to many of the greats over the years. “Can you believe I’m still doing this?!” joked the native New Yorker after he’d come out on stage flanked by a guitarist and keyboardist.
Dressed all in black, his trademark afro now a thing of the past, Garfunkel went on to explain that he’s still performing because “singing is an addiction”. The heartwarming opening song, April Come She Will, introduced the highly appreciative audience to what that magical, delicate croon sounds like today.
Garfunkel has a new autobiography, What Is It All But Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man, coming out in September and happily reminisced about days gone by while reading passages from it. “That’s Paul Simon, by the way,” he quipped after recounting a story involving him and “Paul”.
Alongside the Simon & Garfunkel classics – which included stirring renditions of The Boxer, Homeward Bound, The Sound of Silence (described by the artist as “the song that changed my whole life”) and Kathy’s Song – were some well-chosen cuts, such as 99 Miles From LA (off Garfunkel’s 1975 solo LP, Breakaway), The Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me (dedicated to the late Phil Everly), the beautifully evocative A Heart in New York and, inevitably, that timeless tear-jerker Bright Eyes.
The singer revealed that he often thinks of his former girlfriend Laurie Bird, who committed suicide in 1979, whenever he sings Scarborough Fair and that he likes to sing it to her “on the other side”. Reflecting on the fact that it was recorded 50 years ago, he said of the subsequent response: “Why are you applauding – because we’re all still alive, or for time itself?!”
Garfunkel seemed to struggle a little on some of the songs, leaving out lines and, wisely, not even attempting to tackle Bridge Over Troubled Water in full. Still, the man is a living legend in the music world and even an Art Garfunkel with a voice ravaged by time and vocal paresis (a condition of the vocal cords from which he first suffered in 2010) is a more attractive live proposition than most.
Photo: Raph PH
For further information and future events visit the Art Garfunkel website here.