Legendary American singer Art Garfunkel makes a rare appearance on Tyneside during a beautiful sun-kissed Easter bank holiday weekend.
It goes without saying that Hall One of the majestic Sage Gateshead is the perfect setting for such a prestigious event as this evening’s performance for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Art Garfunkel. Such was the unprecedented demand for tonight’s show that it has long since been sold out.
By his own admittance, social media and modern technology may not be Art Garfunkel’s preferred means of communication, but one thing is for sure, his medium of choice is performing on stage, and there are fewer greater in the North East of England than that of this grand room inside of the Sage Gateshead.
Tonight there is no support, but rather the audience is presented with a show of two halves. With just a modest stage set, featuring a stool and table for Art along with neighbouring spots for both pianist Paul Beard and guitarist Tab Laven. Collectively the trio walks the Tyneside faithful through a career spanning in excess of 50 years.
Opening the show with “The Things We’ve Handed Down”. This track, in particular, is perfectly fitting for the occasion and sets the tone for the evening. This is largely due to the fact that on and off throughout the course of the night Garfunkel is joined onstage by son James (Arthur Jr), and one thing which the man himself has handed down is his remarkable singing ability.
It goes without saying that Art Garfunkel has the hits, but talent certainly runs in the family genes. To watch the pair harmonise on tracks such as their take on the Everly Brothers “Devoted To You” or “Let It Be Me” is truly a joy to behold. A bright future awaits James, that’s for certain.
During the course of the evening, Garfunkel walks the audience down memory lane during a setlist that is rich in timeless classics. The likes of “Scarborough Fair” and “The Boxer” both featuring in the first half of the evening.
However, tonight’s show is not just about the music, between each song Garfunkel takes the opportunity to read poetry from his latest book. Grappling with subjects such as family life, the music industry, fame, modern technology and many more, his readings are as witty as they are insightful and keep the audience captivated throughout.
James (Arthur Jr), kicks off the second half of the show as he wanders into the spotlight centre stage during an outstanding solo performance of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”. Garfunkel quips ‘he’s the singer in the family now’ remarking that not even he sang that high on “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Which is high praise indeed.
Tonight’s show not only draws from Garfunkel’s vast songbook but also that of artists who have inspired him. He notes that in his opinion the five greatest American songwriters are Paul Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Jimmy Webb, James Taylor and Randy Newman. In the second half of the evening, the veteran artist performs a number by the latter, with the inclusion of the heartfelt “Real Emotional Girl”.
And from this point in, it’s back to back classics, from the global hit single “Bright Eyes”, the unmistakable “Bridge Over Troubled Water” through to a song that changed his life “Sound of Silence”. The latter of which has been covered by many artists, most recently The Disturbed took the song into the hard rock arena, with their critically acclaimed reworking of the track.
This evening’s show reaches its conclusion with Garfunkel’s take on Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song” and the glorious “Now I Lay Me Down”, which in turn leaves the crowd wanting more. A humble return to the stage to take one final bow concludes an astounding evening of song, poetry and entertainment from one of the greatest artists of our time.
Event Date: 20-April-2019