Sunday, February 02, 2014

New sound, no silence; Garfunkel shines in Knox

Anticipation mounted.

You knew it was coming. The only question was when. And then:

Hello, darkness, my old friend;
I've come to talk with you again...

I hit my knee with my hand, not to keep time, but to reassure myself that I was six or eight rows back from Art Garfunkel, hearing a song that has long haunted my life.

He was here in Knox Vegas last night at the town's best acoustic venue, the intimate, inviting Bijou Theatre. And, oh, how the memories quickly mounted.

Even without Paul Simon, Garfunkel was great. More than great. He was grand, and I'll tell you why. Art Garfunkel has recovered from a vocal cord problem. That voice, the soaring voice that took us on the "Bridge Over Troubled Water," was nearly silenced.

No, no. Art worked hard. It healed.

And he went back on the road. It's just him, a guitarist, and occasional appearances by his son Art Jr. When father and son sang together, oh, boy. Oh, boy.

In between songs, he interspersed pieces of poetry he's written. So, when he took questions, I asked him which poet inspires him. His answer? Dylan Thomas. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Somebody told him that Phil Everly, whom we lost last month, went to West High School. He didn't know that, liked it, and paid homage to Phil and Don, whose harmonies influenced everybody from Garfunkel and Simon (I feel like reversing that order for once!) to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Time marches on, as it must. Garfunkel looks like an accountant who's nearing retirement. Gone is the big hair and the tall, slender physique.

But that voice? It endures.

Garfunkel got standing ovations for "The Sound of Silence" and "Bridge."

No, he didn't go for the gold at the end of the latter song. That's OK. He didn't have to.

He's already been there.

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