An evening with Art Garfunkel was a night in the company of a musical legend

After trying to squeeze a week's worth of activities into a bank holiday weekend, it was something of a relief to slide into the seat at The Sage Gateshead for something altogether more relaxing - a night in the company of music legend Art Garfunkel.

By Mick Burgess
Sunday, 21st April 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 3:54 pm
Art Garfunkel.
Art Garfunkel.

One half of the legendary duo Simon and Garfunkel and a solo artist in his own right, he was back in the region last night for An Evening Of Songs And Stories, and with a catalogue of songs as rich and golden as his, this was a show not to be missed.

Dressed in black, Garfunkel strode confidently onto the stage looking considerably younger than his 77 years, although shorn of most of his trademark golden locks.

Opening with The Things We`ve Handed Down, a song of genetics and DNA, was the perfect opener to link the introduction of his son, James Arthur to the show, who then went onto perform Wednesday Morning 3am as a solo piece, and how Garfunkel must have swelled with pride on hearing that sweet, pure tone from his son.

Garfunkel joked that his son had the voice but he had the hits, and what a selection of hits to draw from, with The Boxer chiming with a noble reverence and Homeward Bound still so vibrant 53 years after its initial release.

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    In between songs Garfunkel recited poetic prose, in a voice surprisingly deeper than his gorgeous singing tones, covering stories of fame, the inspiring music of Caruso to tales of his publicist's plea for him to take to Twitter, and singing to an appreciative audience of 50 cows, all told in a humorous, self-depreciating way.

    Closing the first set with a stunning two-part harmony rendition of The Everly Brothers' Devoted To You with his son, he sent the crowd off into the interval on a serious high.

    His son opened the second half with Charlie Chaplin's Smile, which featured a high note so clear and pure it reached the stars and back, and the look on Garfunkel's face said it all.

    The proud dad touched on his vocal problems of the past and joked how he'd have to miss the finale to Bridge Over Troubled Water, but he needn't have worried; the warmth in his voice and the chiming, sweet melodious tone made Bright Eyes and Kathy's Song goosebump-raising moments, and Bridge Over Troubled Water was faultless.

    Even more moving was a wistful, dreamy Sound Of Silence, followed by Let It Be Me, which saw another haunting, harmony-laced duet with his son, ably supported by Tab Laven on guitar and Paul Beer on keyboards.

    When Garfunkel bid farewell with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, the crowd - who'd sat in a dignified, appreciative way - rose to their feet en masse and gave an ovation befitting such a timeless musical legend.