Brighton Dome Touring to Apr 21
There are plenty of singers who stick to singing. Not Art Garfunkel: he’s also an actor, a transcontinental walker, a bookworm who logs his reading on his website and a writer of memoirs and ‘prose poems’.
On stage he reads a few poems aloud. One is about Paul Simon, the man with whom he’s for ever entwined, even when they’re feuding. ‘Who will speak,’ Garfunkel impishly wonders, ‘at whose funeral?’
That, happily, remains to be seen, but he has already outlived his old friend on one front. Following a farewell tour last year, Simon now plays only the odd one-off. Garfunkel, by contrast – and perhaps not by coincidence – has dozens of dates in his diary.
At 77, Art’s in good shape, slim and spry. He just doesn’t look much like Art Garfunkel. If he walked into a fancy-dress party, you might assume he’d come as Mr Burns from The Simpsons
At 77, he’s in good shape, slim and spry. He just doesn’t look much like Art Garfunkel. If he walked into a fancy-dress party, you might assume he’d come as Mr Burns from The Simpsons.
More importantly, he doesn’t sound like himself either. His vocal cords have partly recovered from the damage that derailed one last tour with Simon in 2010, but the stratospheric end of his range remains out of reach.
He brings along his son James, who’s 28, and their duet, on the Everly Brothers’ Devoted To You, is delicious. James sings two or three songs alone, including a pure, piercing version of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile, when we could do with more of him helping out his dad.
The show opens, tellingly, with Marc Cohn’s elegant ode to parenthood, The Things We’ve Handed Down. On that song, plus Randy Newman’s Real Emotional Girl and his own chart-topper Bright Eyes, Art’s new voice just about works.
It’s whispery, apt to fade, but still compelling as he plays off the delicate strumming and shading of a two-man band.
Where he struggles is on the Simon & Garfunkel classics, simply because they were defined by his stupendous younger self. Still, it’s touching to watch him have a go.
The Boxer, muted at first, finds about half its magic. Bridge Over Troubled Water is sketchily beautiful, like an old tree in winter. Best of all is The Sound Of Silence, as Garfunkel tugs on the heartstrings with his timing – the one thing time can’t take away.
THIS WEEK’S CD RELEASES
By Adam Woods
Loyle Carner Not Waving, But Drowning Out Fri
The charming rapper dives into sun-dappled, soulful hip hop, with two songs named after chefs (Ottolenghi and Carluccio) and a musical note to mum Jean to explain why he’s moving in with his girlfriend. A graceful, intelligent record
The Rolling Stones Honk Out Fri
A celebration of the big, silly latterday Stones. The two-disc version mimics a setlist in which incorrigible Eighties, Nineties and Noughties rockers are spiced with earlier classics and offset with a consistent streak of big-hearted ballads. It lacks a big chunk of the band’s glory years
Stevie Nicks Stand Back: 1981-2017 Out Fri
Nicks is often dated but anything graced by her mystical, charismatic presence has value, and this 50-song set stops in all the important places (Edge of Seventeen, Stand Back, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around), plus star-packed collaborations and live tunes