Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel will end their silence this fall with their first tour as Simon and Garfunkel since 1983. The oft-estranged duo reunited earlier this year at the Grammys, where they received the Lifetime Achievement Award and performed “The Sounds of Silence,” prompting speculation of a reunion.
Both men were on hand at a press conference at New York City’s Bottom Line today to make the official announcement and play a three-song set that included “Old Friends,” “Homeward Bound” and “The Boxer.” The Old Friends Tour is scheduled to launch on October 18th in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and will run thirty dates into December.
Simon and Garfunkel enjoyed a string of thirteen hit singles between 1965 and 1970, though the duo was dormant through much of the Seventies, with Simon successfully mounting a solo career. A successful 1981 reunion concert in New York City’s Central Park prompted a 1983 tour, the duo’s last, not counting a run of twenty-one performances in New York City in 1993.
Though S&G might perform the occasional song from their individual solo work — Garfunkel said he enjoys singing Simon’s “American Tune” and Simon called “Slip Sliding Away” “a Simon and Garfunkel song that happened to occur six years after we broke up” — the focus will be on the duo’s five albums: Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m. (1964), The Sounds of Silence (1966), Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), Bookends (1968) and Bridge Over Troubled Water(1970).
“We want to stay as true to the spirit of Simon and Garfunkel as we can,” Simon said. “If not note for note, we certainly don’t want to reconfigure [songs]. We plan to capture it as it was. There’s a tremendous emotional undercurrent, because decades of our lives have passed. I’m mostly thinking about reconnecting with people who knew us when we were young.” There are no plans for any new Simon and Garfunkel material.
As for their testy past, both men said the Lifetime Achievement Award prompted them to bury the hatchet. “This is a very deep, old friendship,” Garfunkel said. “There has been a deep, buried affection. It was the Grammys that forced it out of burial. It was truly a joy to hang out with Paul and sing.”
“I never thought we lost our ability to sing together,” Simon added. “What we had was a friendship that was estranged.”
Simon and Garfunkel plan to head into rehearsals today with a band that includes drummer Jim Keltner, pianist Warren Bernhardt, guitarists Mark Stuart and Larry Saltzman, percussionist Jamey Haddad and keyboardist Rob Schwimmer. But it will be the harmonies that the pair will pay closest attention to. “We have to listen carefully to reestablish the blend,” Simon said. “The performances and experiences are freighted with potential for something extraordinary to happen. I hope it will happen.”