Simon, Garfunkel reunite in concert tour after 20 years

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2003

NEW YORK Dusting the cobwebs off their friendship, the folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel announced Tuesday they were reuniting for a concert tour of North America this fall.

Shows begin Oct. 18 at The Palace at Auburn Hills, outside Detroit.

The 1960s favorites, who last recorded together in 1975, have sold more than 40 million albums in the United States with hits like ''The Sound of Silence,'' ''Bridge Over Troubled Water'' and ''Mrs. Robinson.''

They're titling the tour ''Old Friends,'' but the men have had a contentious relationship until the ice broke earlier this year when they performed ''The Sound of Silence'' together at the Grammy Awards.

''I never actually thought that we'd lost our ability to sing together and have a blend,'' Simon said. ''What we had was a friendship that was estranged, and the Grammys was an opportunity to put that behind us. That's exactly what we did.''

Garfunkel said it was ''truly a joy'' to sing again with Simon, whom he's known for 50 years.

''It's family, the two of us,'' he said. ''Our moms know each other. They're still alive. There has been a deep, buried affection for the last decade or so and it was the Grammys that forced it out of burial.''

The duo sang three songs at The Bottom Line nightclub in New York City: ''Old Friends,'' ''Homeward Bound'' and ''The Boxer.'' Simon strummed an acoustic guitar and Garfunkel struck a familiar pose, clasping his hands in front of him as he reached for high notes. Both wore jeans.

They shared knowing glances during a line from ''Old Friends'' ''how terribly strange to be 70'' that has far more resonance than when Simon wrote it. Both men will turn 62 during the tour.

They will stick almost exclusively to old Simon & Garfunkel material, with maybe one or two songs from the intervening solo years.

For example, Simon said he's always imagined his solo song, ''Slip Slidin' Away,'' as a Simon & Garfunkel tune. They might try Simon's ''American Tune'' as well, he said. They'll tour with a full band.

''We don't intend to reimagine that work,'' Simon said. ''We're going to try to recapture it as it was and not alter it.''

The duo revealed 28 cities where they would perform, but no arenas and dates after the opener. They hope to add two more cities, a spokesperson said.

Ticket prices for some shows will go on sale Monday. Ticket prices also weren't revealed, although similar acts sell tickets for up to $250 each.

There are no plans for performances outside of North America after the tour ends in mid-December, Garfunkel said.

They last went on tour in 1982-83, and also performed 21 concerts in 1993 in New York City.

''Since we seem to be doing this every 10 or 12 years, this is probably the last time we're going to be doing this,'' Simon said.

The long layoff makes it difficult to predict what type of business the duo will do playing large arenas, said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert trade publication Pollstar.

''There will be a substantial number of people who will pay a good premium for good seats,'' he said. ''The problem is whether people will pay $85 to sit in the back ... I don't know. I honestly don't know.''

Simon said he's looking forward to reconnecting with fans who enjoyed the duo's music when they were young.

''Because of the passage of time and the emotions that go with that,'' he said, ''the performance and the experience is freighted with the potential for something extraordinary to occur. I hope that will happen.''

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