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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Concert Review: Simon & Garfunkel Tribute Show

From the home page on their Tribute to Simon and Garfunkel site.

Right up front I will admit to not normally warming up to tribute shows. Although I admire the talent I generally opt for the original whenever possible. So what got me to drive all the way to Slim's in San Francisco on Sunday night for a tribute act? Well, a coupon offer of two tickets for the price of one did not hurt and being a huge fan of Simon and Garfunkel really made it a no-brainer.

What actually tipped the scale for me could do the same for you. I went to their website and simply clicked on the trailer tab. It's a collage of photos and audio clips that instantly dropped my jaw. I am a self-proclaimed junkie for anything Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel did together. I know every note and nuance of every song that Simon and Garfunkel ever released. It would take something special for me to appreciate someone other than Paul and Art performing their songs. And that something is A.J. Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle from Bethleham, Pennsylvania.

With just a quiet stage, only one acoustic guitar and two beautiful voices in harmony they recreate the magic of Simon and Garfunkel from their early years in Greenwich Village through their final project, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

We were treated to the following set of big hits and great obscure album tracks:

We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin'
Blues Run The Game
The Sound of Silence
A Hazy Shade of Winter
The Dangling Conversation
Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
Homeward Bound
At The Zoo
Mrs. Robinson
Richard Cory
Bridge Over Troubled Water
A Poem On An Underground Wall
Fakin' It
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
Scarborough Fair/Canticle
The Only Living Boy In New York
Old Friends/Bookends Theme
Red Rubber Ball
Punky's Dilemma
April Come She Will
I Am A Rock
The Boxer

A.J. and Jonathan are remarkable. Their passion for recreating Simon and Garfunkel shines through on every song. Even the later Simon and Garfunkel recordings with more complex production by Roy Halee have a stunning simplicity to them in this acoustic tribute. Great back stories and side bars kept the audience completely engaged in the fitting coffee house atmosphere of Slim's.

I highly recommend this show but you have to move quickly as A.J. Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle's tour zigzags across the country this summer. You can be sure the venues will be intimate settings where you will be up close and personal with the next best thing to Simon and Garfunkel themselves.

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