We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when certain world events took place—the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the death of the Queen.
And for me, listening to Bridge Over Troubled Water for the first time. I remember that vividly.
It was 1971 and I was at my best friend’s house, in her room.
Her room, small, stuffy and at the top of a narrow flight of stairs, was in the furthest away bit of the house, presumably so that her family didn’t have to endure endless adolescent shrieks and giggles emanating from it when we were together.
She had just bought the album (correction, LP) and put it on.
In an instant, we were silenced. Everything else receded, even the stink of her Afghan coat.
I think we listened through to the end of Side One without so much as a snort, snigger or giggle.
As the last note receded, and the stink of her Afghan coat filled the room again, we got over ourselves.
“I’m having Art, you’re having Paul.” “No, I’m having Art, you’re having Paul.” Shriek, giggle. Normal teenage service was resumed.
Could the show bring back the feelings of half a century ago?
I went to last night’s show, The Simon & Garfunkel Story at Eden Court, Inverness wondering whether it could possibly capture the magical feeling of 1971, when not only two ridiculous adolescent girls were blown away by Bridge Over Troubled Water, but an entire generation (apart from those critics who blasted it for its saccharine sweetness), who would go on to buy 25 million copies of it.
I never got to see Simon and Garfunkel live, either singly or together.
But close your eyes and drift down memory lane, The Simon & Garfunkel Story is as close as you can get.
I wondered what the audition process must have been like to find two performers with voices as frail and strong, sweet and expressive as the originals.
They discovered it in spades in Will Sharp (Paul Simon) and Oliver Cave (Art Garfunkel) who carry this two hour show without a waver, and with an endearing humility.
The show is packed with all the well-loved favourites—need I even name them?— and tucks in some less remembered tracks too.
The performers tell Art and Paul’s story from their childhood in Queens and early teenage band Tom & Jerry in the late 50s through all the stops and starts of the Sixties to the all-engulfing success of Bridge Over Troubled Water in 1970.
It was the best-selling album that year, and in 1971 and 1972. At that point it was the best selling album of all time.
1971 saw the break up of the duo, and in The Simon & Garfunkel Story, it’s time for the interval.
In the second half, the screen at the back displays the timeline of Art and Paul’s diverging lives, while on stage the tempo picks up to the delight of the ultra-responsive Inverness audience.
The complex harmonies and rhythms of the Simon and Garfunkel simply wouldn’t work in this show without all the performers on stage gelling completely.
Consummate backing band
The three piece band, Leon Camfield on bass, Will Tuckwell (electric guitar/keyboard) and Mat Swales on drums also deserved the standing ovation at the end for the sensitive and thoughtful power they were behind the Will Sharp and Oliver Cave.
And a word for director Dean Elliott who has created not only a masterful, understated show, but one which exudes respect for the original artists.
Most of the audience were d’un certain âge like myself, and I got the feeling that for all of us, The Simon & Garfunkel Story took us back to the soundtrack of our youth, a welcome escape from days that now feel like the endgame for all we’ve ever known.
The sell-out show now returns south until its next Scottish date in Glasgow on Sunday October 15.