Volume XI, Issue 48 ~ November 26- December 3, 2003

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Bay Reflections

Homeward Bound’ It’s Called Nostalgia
by M.L. Faunce

“I’ve got goose bumps,” said the woman sitting next to me. Others all around reminisced about old Stones concerts while comparing notes on retirement plans. Simon and Garfunkel were together again, and a sea of Baby Boomers filed in by the thousands to MGM Grand Garden Theater in Las Vegas.

What a difference three decades makes. Here a few double chins, there a few huffing and puffing their way toward nose-bleed seats that they amply filled. One bragged he was “ticketed” at Woodstock, meaning that he had bought a ticket for the rock concert that summer of love in 1969 when some 500,000 unexpected guests showed up and stayed three days in Max Yasgur’s pasture in upstate New York.

Baby Boomers may be aging, but they still remember the music, and all the words — “The Dangling Conversation,” “The Sound of Silence” — that gave resonance to a generation shaped by political upheaval.

The last time I had seen Simon and Garfunkel was in San Francisco’s Union Square, singing that coming-of-age song “Mrs. Robinson” — only instead they used the name “Robert Kennedy,” who was in town campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination. That was 1968, a turbulent time for the country and for the famous folk-rock duo, who ended their musical collaboration soon after with the release of Bridge over Troubled Waters. It was a bridge they would not span together again for 32 years.

But thyme (parsley, sage, rosemary) has a way of smoothing out old scores, and Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, both 62, have renewed their 50-year friendship with a national 2003 Old Friends concert tour. The harmony and the lyrics that many of us came of age with during the high days of their early career together (1964-1970), is what S&G serves up on this tour, a catalogue of their hits as if time had stood still.

Never mind that Art’s famous high notes didn’t always get off the ground, that Paul seems to have had a few millimeters shaven from his already diminutive height or that together they now look more like someone’s odd couple uncles. The bookends are back, “Homeward Bound,” but not “Slip Slidin’ Away,” singing “America.”

Just when the whole affair seemed its most mellow, S&G kicked it up a notch, surprising the audience by introducing “our heroes: The Everly Brothers,” the duo whose music first inspired them. Don and Phil, still with copious amounts of hair that baby boomers must have envied, blasted on to the stage with “Wake up a-Little Suzie,” slowed it down with “Dream” — coming back with a boisterous finale “Bye Bye Love.”

Two encores later, I turned to my friend with the goose bumps, wondering if there were any songs left unsung. Not missing a beat, she ticked off “Me and Julio, Down by the Schoolyard,” which is where Simon and Garfunkel met at age 11.

Years seem to melt away for Simon and Garfunkel during their Old Friends tour. So they do for us, too, “and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains, within the sound of silence.”

Here’s to you Simon and Garfunkel. Hey, hey, hey.

Simon and Garfunkel play Washington’s MCI Center December 14 and 15.

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Last updated November 26, 2003 @ 2:10am.