The large and talented band played straight forward arrangements of most of the songs until they got to Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. Simon’s bassist laid back on the groove and the sparse arrangement meant some of the dynamics that make the song so great, including the call and response between the bass and guitar, were lost.
One new arrangement that did work was the band’s take on Slip Slidin’ Away. The speed was slower than Simon’s original and this version was more like a funeral dirge than the happy-go-lucky take found on Paul’s 1977 Greatest Hits album. While you’d think a slow, more deep and minor version would be depressing it worked really well. In fact, it was the highlight of the evening for me until Garfunkel came out.
When Art joined Paul for the encore he remarked how happy he was that people still care about their music. Garfunkel was flown in from Florida where he was in between two gigs and something tells me he got a bigger reception at the Beacon than in Key Largo. Simon and Garfunkel started the first encore with a gorgeous Sounds of Silence that showed off their magnificent harmonies before they brought the house down with a powerful version of The Boxer. The crowd walked out onto Broadway satisfied after a fitting Old Friends second encore. If this is just the start for our old friend the Beacon, Manhattan’s Upper West Side is in for quite a ride.
Set 1: Gumboots, Boy In The Bubble, Slip Slidin’ Away, Proof, Train In The Distance, Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Duncan, O Vendedor de Sonhos*, Spirit Voices*, Amulet*^, Born At The Right Time*, Cool Cool River, Father & Daughter, You Can Call Me Al
Set 2: Satin Summer Nights&, Bernadette&, Quality&, Adios Hermanos&, Graceland, You’re The One, Loves Me Like A Rock, Love In Hard Times, Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes, Late In The Evening
Encore: Sounds of Silence$, The Boxer$, Old Friends$
* – w/ Luciana Souza
^ – First Time Played
& – w/ The Capeman crew
$ – w/ Art Garfunkel