Thursday, June 17, 2004

Simon and Garfunkel feelin'
groovy, but for how long?



By David Bauder
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Fans couldn't help but be curious last fall when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel strode onstage to open their reunion concerts with the song "Old Friends."

Old friends, yes. But still friends?

IF YOU GO
What: Simon and Garfunkel; special appearance by the Everly Brothers

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., downtown

Cost: $50, $85, $125, $185: Call Ticketmaster at 562-4949 or go to www.ticketmaster.com

Information: www.simonandgarfunkel.com

On the road: Simon and Garfunkel also will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Contact Ticketmaster for tickets and more information.

The boyhood chums have been estranged through the years, the classic example of a duo that made sweet music onstage and hit sour notes when the lights went down.

Now, however, "my friendship with Artie is back to where it was when we were 12 years old," Simon said. "We're laughing and kidding around all the time. It's a lot of fun."

Agreed Garfunkel: "We are remarkably like brothers in our musical calling and our senses of humor."

The $64.5 million in ticket sales for the first leg of the "Old Friends" tour probably helped their mood, too.

They may be friends again, but that doesn't mean they always see eye to eye. In the course of two interviews, they disagreed on whether Simon and Garfunkel has a recording future and a touring future beyond this summer.

The singers' repertoire is kept strictly to the Simon and Garfunkel recordings, except for Simon's early 1970s solo recordings "Slip Slidin' Away" and "American Tune." Trying to balance the duo material with more solo work would have been too difficult, Simon said.

"It's particularly appropriate now to stay locked into a time capsule, because it has a lot of resonance," he said. "The power of the elapsed time adds emotion to the songs. A lot of these songs, even back then, were dealing with the passage of time."

Simon was in his early 20s when he wrote a line in the song "Old Friends" about being 70. The idea that he's performing the song at age 62 "is still shocking," he said.

"The sound of the two voices is unique," Simon said. "The fact that the Everly Brothers are part of the show really connects us to our beginnings."

Seeing the duo isn't a cheap date. The average ticket price for a Simon and Garfunkel show last fall was $136.90, well above the industry average of around $50, according to Pollstar magazine.

Garfunkel said he's had great fun with the reunion, which he called "an open-ended experience." The idea of new recordings from the duo is "a very interesting and feasible possibility," he said.

Although they're preparing a CD and DVD recording of their Madison Square Garden from last fall, Simon doesn't expect any new music from the duo.

"I think we're about what we were," not what we could be in the future, he said. He also predicted it would be the last time on the road for Simon and Garfunkel.




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