Art Garfunkel makes his Easton debut in the 400-seat Avalon Theater not only on the most significant romantic night of the year—expect him to sing “I Only Have Eyes for You” during his Valentine’s Day gig Friday night—but he also plays the next two nights.
“Art specifically wanted to play smaller rooms for multiple days to reduce the travel grind,” says Al Bond, president of the Avalon Foundation, referring to Garfunkel’s current autumn-through-spring tour. “Otherwise, his brand is too big for the Avalon.” Translation: We couldn’t afford him for one night only.
“We’re thrilled to present Mr. Garfunkel, and we’re so looking forward to next weekend,” says Suzy Moore, Avalon’s artistic director. “The town should be bustling with the three Art shows and the inaugural Fire & Ice Festival.” Fire & Ice brings three days of ice sculptures, outdoor ice-skating, and other winter-themed happenings, along with music and “Stews & Brews” starting on Valentine’s Day, when Garfunkel arrives in town.
So, if you don’t yet have Artie tickets—it’s a sellout—you can celebrate anyway.
Garfunkel also played three nights last weekend at Wolftrap in Vienna, Va. at its indoor venue, The Barns, also with about 400 seats. There was a time, of course, when Simon and Garfunkel, the highest-profile folk-rock duo possibly of all time, could easily sell out the much larger outdoor Wolftrap venue, including overflow lawn seating, or draw an estimated million fans for a free Central Park concert. I once reviewed Simon and Garfunkel for the Baltimore Sun at Laurel Race Course, an outdoor concert with a video projection resembling a drive-in movie screen.
After years of squabbling following their breakup, Garfunkel has long enjoyed concert rights to perform the songs—all written by Simon—that made both of them famous. So, you’re almost homeward bound, excuse the pun, to hear his solo versions of “Sounds of Silence,” “Scarborough Fair,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” Not sure about my personal favorite, “The Boxer.”
There are also a dozen solo albums of cover songs—including Great American standards-plus others written or co-written by Garfunkel, which will expand your expectations about one of the greatest vocal collaborators of 20th-century chart-topping music.
Among some of the songs, you may not recognize may be “Bright Eyes,” a solo hit in Europe that somehow went mostly unnoticed in the States. Also, “Everything Waits to Be Noticed,” Garfunkel’s title song of his 2002 album. More familiar are his “(What a) Wonderful World” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” (George and Ira Gershwin).
Garfunkel also weaves an enigmatic tapestry of stories from the life of a celebrity. Besides being a world-class troubadour, he also once enjoyed a promising acting career in the 1970s, with roles in “Carnal Knowledge” and “Catch 22. I say “enigmatic” based on the title of his 2017 memoir, “Life Is All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man.” Inspired by Balzac and a subtitle borrowed from Dostoyevsky, Garfunkel says of Balzac, “He’s a forgotten man. You don’t hear his name at all nowadays. Honoré de Balzac. When you see pictures of him, he was so ruddy and alive. You just know he was a steak eater and a drinker. He’s got such a furious amount of energy.”
Apparently so does Garfunkel, who muses about his walking trips across Europe and America in relatively short hikes at a time.
At a recent concert in Los Angeles, he joked (we presume), “There’s a lot of mortality in this show.”
Of his current tour, which takes him to Florida after Easton and an eight-day performance cruise out of Miami, he told nashvillescene.com: “I don’t look at it as a tour. I just look at it as ‘this is what I do.’ I go out on the road, and I do shows, usually on weekends. Are they tours? They’re mini-tours. This is my life: I sing, I have a booking agent, he finds me stages, and I go all over the world. . . I love it. It’s a great way to get away with singing, warbling [Garfunkel’s way of making fun of his now-less-than-crystalline voice]. Ah, to do that and get away with it, and that’s your living, and you do these famous songs—and they pay you! And you move on to the next town—I love this deal!”
On tour, Garfunkel is accompanied by Ted Laven on guitar, Paul Beard on keyboard and, occasionally, by his son, Arthur Jr., on harmonizing vocals.
ART GARFUNKEL at the Avalon.
Tickets: sold out; call 410-822-7299 for possible cancellations
Steve Parks is a retired journalist, arts writer, editor, and critic now living in Easton.
Don’t miss the latest! You can subscribe to The Talbot Spy‘s free Daily Intelligence Report here.