Old Friends Live on Stage

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
When you've been friends for close to half a century, you get to, uh, know each other. At the time of their 2003 reunion tour, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were closing in on the 50-year mark of a personal relationship that, of course, includes their monumental on-and-off musical partnership. They bring an understandable sense of intimacy and mutual respect despite their joking references to the rancor that inevitably surfaces between them to this in-performance set that captures a particularly inspired and emotional appearance in their hometown of New York City. To their credit, the duo don't fall back on the tried and true, instead altering arrangements of classics...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
When you've been friends for close to half a century, you get to, uh, know each other. At the time of their 2003 reunion tour, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were closing in on the 50-year mark of a personal relationship that, of course, includes their monumental on-and-off musical partnership. They bring an understandable sense of intimacy and mutual respect despite their joking references to the rancor that inevitably surfaces between them to this in-performance set that captures a particularly inspired and emotional appearance in their hometown of New York City. To their credit, the duo don't fall back on the tried and true, instead altering arrangements of classics that add dimension to longtime favorites. For example: Garfunkel rather than Simon takes the solo vocal on "Kathy's Song"; both men chime in on "American Tune," a signature song from Simon's solo career; the Everly Brothers, S&G's main early influence, join them for a rousing "Bye Bye Love"; and there are a multitude of changes in instrumental textures and rhythms. The haunting theremin break in "The Boxer" stands out as an especially dazzling touch. Both men sound wiser, yet still in strong command of their vocal powers -- their utterly distinctive harmonies remain unrivaled. The inclusion of a live version of their first adolescent hit as Tom and Jerry, "Hey School Girl," and the addition of a recent studio recording of Simon's previously unheard "Child of the Planet" lends this outstanding album a full-circle tone, emphasizing the unique longevity and enduring strength of this essential pop music duo.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's no secret that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel didn't end their partnership on the friendliest terms. Despite a brief reunion every decade or so -- most notably in the fall of 1981 at The Concert in Central Park -- Simon & Garfunkel were notorious for not speaking to each other, so their reunion at the 2002 Grammy Awards, opening the show with "The Sound of Silence," was a big deal. It was a good performance, too, whetting the appetites of an audience eager for a full-fledged reunion tour, which the duo delivered in 2003 and into 2004. This tour is documented on the appropriately titled and none too surprisingly titled Old Friends: Live on Stage, a double-CD set that culls highlights from a series of concerts they performed at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey and Madison Square Garden between December 3 and 8, 2003. There's also a deluxe version of the concert containing a DVD that recreates the entire set list of the show, adding six songs to the concert, including "The 59th Street Bridge Song Feelin' Groovy" and two additional Everly Brothers songs. In either incarnation, the same holds true: it's a warm, enjoyable slice of nostalgia. Simon & Garfunkel make no attempt to hide their age -- during the show, they recall meeting each other in sixth grade in a production of Alice in Wonderland, offhandedly mentioning the 40 years that have passed since they started their professional musical career. This is a smart move, since the point of the entire tour and by extension this album is nostalgia, to gain comfort in reminiscing and revisiting the duo's generation-defining songs. This is made explicit on the intro to the DVD, which recaps the cultural shifts from the '50s to the 2000s, all peppered with photos of Simon & Garfunkel as boys, first-time fathers, and senior citizens. This may be unapologetically sentimental, even sappy, but anybody who had Simon & Garfunkel songs as the soundtrack to their life -- particularly Baby Boomers, but to a lesser extent their children, as well -- will find that it tugs on their heart strings all the same, and gets them ready to enjoy this stroll down memory lane. Nevertheless, it sure is weird to hear the hometown crowd hoop and holler at the "come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue" line in "The Boxer." As music, Old Friends isn't quite as successful, even if it's still a pleasurable experience. Simon & Garfunkel's voices have aged, lowering a bit in range, and Simon's pitch isn't as strong as it once was, but when they harmonize, the chemistry is still apparent; if anything, the changes in their voices only adds to the nostalgic appeal of the music, since it makes it clear just how much time has passed and how much things have changed. Musically, the biggest flaw is that, apart from the handful of solo acoustic numbers, the arrangements are slickly professional -- well done, to be sure, but just a shade too glossy. But that's a minor complaint, since this overall is a very enjoyable listen. Perhaps it's nostalgia, but it does its job exceptionally well. [Two final notes: The CD contains a new song, "Citizen of the Planet," which is pleasant, but not remarkable. The DVD, however, has an exceptional series of clips from the 1970 TV special Songs of America that contain footage of Simon & Garfunkel performing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in the studio, traveling across the U.S., playing in hotel rooms, and being interviewed. For any dedicated fan, it's worth the price of admission, but hopefully the entire special will be released on DVD someday.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/7/2004
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624896722
  • Catalog Number: 48967

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Old Friends/Bookends (3:33)
  2. 2 A Hazy Shade of Winter (3:33)
  3. 3 I Am a Rock (4:23)
  4. 4 America (4:53)
  5. 5 At the Zoo (1:33)
  6. 6 Baby Driver (2:58)
  7. 7 Kathy's Song (3:58)
  8. 8 Tom and Jerry Story (2:14)
  9. 9 Hey Schoolgirl (0:45)
  10. 10 The Everly Brothers Intro (1:42)
  11. 11 Bye Bye Love (3:00)
  12. 12 Scarborough Fair (3:50)
  13. 13 Homeward Bound (5:41)
  14. 14 The Sound of Silence (5:02)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Mrs. Robinson (4:32)
  2. 2 Slip Slidin' Away (4:59)
  3. 3 El Condor Pasa (3:34)
  4. 4 The Only Living Boy in New York (4:03)
  5. 5 American Tune (4:40)
  6. 6 My Little Town (4:35)
  7. 7 Bridge Over Troubled Water (6:11)
  8. 8 Cecilia (4:25)
  9. 9 The Boxer (5:07)
  10. 10 Leaves That Are Green (3:22)
  11. 11 Citizen of the Planet (3:14)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Opening Montage
  2. 2 Old Friends/Bookends
  3. 3 A Hazy Shade of Winter
  4. 4 I Am a Rock
  5. 5 America
  6. 6 At the Zoo
  7. 7 Baby Driver
  8. 8 Kathy's Song
  9. 9 Tom and Jerry Story
  10. 10 Hey Schoolgirl
  11. 11 The Everly Brothers Intro
  12. 12 Wake Up Little Susie
  13. 13 All I Have to Do Is Dream
  14. 14 Bye Bye Love
  15. 15 Scarborough Fair
  16. 16 Homeward Bound
  17. 17 The Sound of Silence
  18. 18 Opening Montage
  19. 19 Mrs. Robinson
  20. 20 Slip Slidin' Away
  21. 21 El Condor Pasa
  22. 22 Keep the Customer Satisfied
  23. 23 The Only Living Boy in New York
  24. 24 American Tune
  25. 25 My Little Town
  26. 26 Bridge Over Troubled Water
  27. 27 Cecilia
  28. 28 The Boxer
  29. 29 Leaves That Are Green
  30. 30 The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
  31. 31 Bonus Materials
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Simon & Garfunkel Primary Artist
Art Garfunkel Vocals
Paul Simon Guitar, Vocals
Warren Bernhardt Piano
Jim Keltner Drums
Jamey Haddad Percussion
Kevin O'Connor Percussion, Drums
Pino Palladino Bass
Larry Saltzman Guitar
Rob Schwimmer Keyboards, Theremin
Alie Amato Ambience
Mark Stewart Guitar, Cello
Technical Credits
Art Garfunkel Composer
Paul Simon Composer
Dave Morgan Engineer
Felice Bryant Composer
Boudleaux Bryant Composer
Kooster McAllister Engineer
David Wild Liner Notes
John Alagia Engineer
Geoff Gans Art Direction
Greg Hall Engineer
Andrew Dawson Digital Editing
Danny Clinch Cover Photo
Greg Thompson Engineer
Tim Holder Monitor Engineer
Marshall Fawcett Engineer
Jerry Kramer Executive Producer
John Scher Executive Producer
Eddie Simon Executive Producer
Michael Kaye Guitar Techician
Troy Clair Engineer
Aron Michalski Guitar Techician
Walter "Biff" Dawes Engineer
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Best S&G live album ever?

    I did not have the pleasure of seeing this show when S&G were on tour, however, judging from this CD/DVD package, I definitely missed out on an outstanding evening. They may be older, but they sound just as great, and in some ways, even better. The arrangements, the band, and Paul and Artie's voices are all in top form. The 1967 and 1969 live albums may be more revelatory, and the Concert in Central Park more eventful, but this set is truly a definitive document of a duo that still manages the capture the essence of their timeless material.

    Do yourself a favor and spring for the complete CD/DVD package. You won't be disappointed.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Incredible

    Saw the show live; this captures it perfectly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    excellent time

    one of the best concerts i have seen in a long time, worth the time and money

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Entertaining But No Substitute For The Legendary Studio Recordings...

    The nostalgia factor aside, Old Friends: Live On Stage is a pleasant enough Simon and Garfunkle live concert album with a few outstanding renditions of classic Paul Simon songs but all in all the CD is a disappointment. Attempts to "freshen up' standards such as "Mrs. Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water' pale in comparison to the peerless studio recordings. The duo's voices have obviously aged but the harmonies remain remarkably spectacular after all these years. The standouts on this album include "A Hazy Shade of Winter", "El Condor Pasa". "American Tune" and "My Little Town" : all four songs have smooth, uncluttered arrangements that beautifully showcase S&G's melded voices. The songs also happen to be (along with "Bridge Over Troubled Water") among the greatest works Paul Simon has ever written. Fans of Simon and Garfunkel should find much to enjoy on this two CD set.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews