LIVE: Art Garfunkel @ The Egg, 10/24/15

Review by Greg Haymes

At his last show at The Egg back in 2002, Art Garfunkel’s angelic voice was still pretty much intact, but that was more than a dozen years ago. Then in 2010, he suffered from a paresis of his vocal chords and lost his ability to sing.

In concert back at The Egg last Saturday night, he alluded to the medical condition several times, and at the start of his second set, he proclaimed, “The Good Lord has given me my voice back, and I’m so grateful.”

But the truth is that he still hasn’t fully recovered, and he acknowledged as much at the end of the evening as he approached the song that the near-capacity crowd in the Hart Theatre had been waiting all night to hear. “We’ll have a try at ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,'” he said somewhat hesitantly, adding, “It’s still a work in progress.”

Accompanied by guitarist Tab Laven and keyboardist Cliff Carter, Garfunkel pulled off a credible rendition, artfully dodging some of the high notes and more complex passages with a deft re-arrangement that managed to give the crowd what they wanted, even if some of the majesty was missing in action. Throughout the two 45-minute sets he had pitch problems, and at times it was heartbreaking to watch him struggle for the right note. But he also gave impressively dramatic vocal performances, especially with a heart-tugging treatment of Randy Newman’s “Real Emotional Girl” and the Gershwin standard “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Of course, the crowd came to hear the Simon & Garfunkel gems, and Garfunkel didn’t skimp on the old catalog. Nine of his 17 songs were S&G classics, including “The Boxer” (which had the crowd singing along on just the second song of the night), “Scarborough Fair,” “Homeward Bound” and “The Sound of Silence.” And he even tackled a vintage Paul Simon song that S&G never recorded, the anti-war ballad “The Side of a Hill.”

In between songs, Garfunkel slipped on his glasses and read an assortment of poems, vignettes and poetic remembrances that he had written on envelopes. (Why envelopes? Probably because he’s a self-described “eccentric man.”) Several of the readings were longer than the songs they introduced, and there were stories about his son Beau, Jack Nicholson, Domino the birthday party clown, Al Pacino and more. And oh yeah, he finally did get around to eventually talking about his old partner, Paul Simon – “A man who has enormously enriched my life. Period.” And that was it…

April Come She Will
The Boxer
Perfect Moment
A Heart in New York (Benny Gallagher & Graham Lyle)/All I Know (Jimmy Webb)
A Poem On the Underground Wall
Scarborough Fair
The Side of a Hill
99 Miles From LA (Albert Hammond)
Homeward Bound
Real Emotional Girl (Randy Newman)
For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
Bright Eyes (Michael Batt)
Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin)
Sound of Silence
Kathy’s Song
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

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