The voice of an angel, the musings of a man well-traveled and the familiar songs of multiple generations filled the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills as Art Garfunkel entertained a full house on May 9th. Over the next 90-minute set, Garfunkel took the audience back in time on a magical, musical and lyrical storytelling journey. The evening started off with a sweet rendition of “The Things We’ve Handed Down”, followed by Simon & Garfunkel songs “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” and “The Boxer.”
Garfunkel took the audience back in time on a magical, musical and lyrical storytelling journey.
Considering the majority of Simon & Garfunkel songs were penned by Paul Simon, the 2017 publishing of What Is It All But Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man, Garfunkel’s autobiography, showcases his fantastic and unique ability to write. Garfunkel shared with the crowd excerpts like “Hampshire House”, “The Publicist” and “Authorship.” Garfunkel then double-downed with more Simon & Garfunkel fan favorites, like “Scarborough Fair”, “Homeward Bound” and “The Sound of Silence.” He shared his five favorite American songwriters to be Paul Simon, thanking him amongst the applause, Stephen Sondheim, James Taylor, Jimmy Webb and Randy Newmann, launching then into a beautiful rendition of “Real Emotional Girl”.
Garfunkel also displayed his storytelling skills, sharing that the story “Authorship” from his book was about his parents, thinking after his father died that our parents are our “ideal”, our “everything”. Continuing on, Garfunkel sang “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”, showing off his still sweet and tender voice, which had been compromised for four years due to vocal paresis, rendering it near impossible for him to sing.
Throughout the evening, Garfunkel continued to take fans back in time with his tender and angel-like voice, backed by a fantastic guitarist and talented pianist. Keeping with stories of his childhood, he shared how, in 1951, he began singing in his temple in Queens, breaking into of a beautiful acapella hymn. Garfunkel told the audience that at a young age, he saw that he moved grown men to tears and thought, “I’m going to stick with this singing thing!”. He then shared “Creatures” from his book and sang “Bright Eyes”.
Noting he had seen a recent interview with Paul Simon where he spoke about the rudimentary form of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and was sharing the original version, Garfunkel thought, “That’s better than the real thing” and incorporated it into his version for the night. With his guitarist, pianist and sans brass section, Garfunkel played a beautiful version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
His storytelling continued, sharing about a birthday party for Paul Simon…
His storytelling continued, sharing about a birthday party for Paul Simon and their long friendship: reminiscing about the moment when Simon called him to tell him he had written “the best song of his life”, sharing that it was the fifth song penned by his friend. Simon came to Garfunkel’s house and played for him “The Sound of Silence”. Just when you thought the evening was over, Garfunkel came back to the stage to share about his experience performing at the Royal Albert Hall and the story “Royal Albert Hall” from his autobiography. He graced us with a tender version of “Kathy’s Song” after thanking Paul Simon for writing it. Closing out the night, Garfunkel read from his book Lord Almighty and sang “Now I Lay Me Down.”
As he left the stage, Garfunkel graciously thanked the crowd for a fantastic evening. It indeed was a fantastic evening: as I closed my eyes, I could hear the sweet, tender and angelic sounds of my childhood, the memories of the sound of the needle on countless Simon & Garfunkel albums that spun in my living room. It is to you, Mr. Garfunkel that I say thank you — not only for a magical evening of memories, but for a lifetime of them.