Simon & Garfunkel
Live from New York City, 1967
First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2002, Volume 9, #8
Written by John Metzger
Itís highly unlikely that the world has been waiting for a concert recording from Simon & Garfunkel. But thatís just because over the years the duo has become one of the forgotten gems of the 1960s. Not to mention the fact that no one really expects Simon & Garfunkelís concerts to vary all that much from its studio endeavors. Such an assumption, however, would be completely wrong, and thatís why Live from New York City, 1967 has been a long time in coming. In fact, itís more than 35 years overdue.
At the time of the concert (January 22, 1967), Simon & Garfunkel were between masterpieces. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme had come out several months prior, and Bookends wouldnít be released for more than a year. Between the two, Paul Simonís lyrics explored the alienation that was growing between his generation and the establishment. A distrust of government, a dislike for business, and a general disillusionment with the state of America provided plenty of fodder for his poetic observations.
If anything, Live from New York City, 1967 further plays to the lyrical essence of Simonís songs. Make no mistake: The studio renditions of these tunes all hold their own against and build upon similar outings of the time, such as The Beatlesí Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band, Rubber Soul, and Revolver albums as well as The Beach Boysí Pet Sounds. But with just two beautiful, perfectly joined voices and masterfully performed guitar passages, a crystal clear clarity is achieved that allows the words to hang in the air, forming delicately silhouetted snapshots of life. Listen as the duo depicts the disengaged couple in The Dangling Conversation or paints the subway with A Poem on the Underground Wall. Listen as they gleefully glide through the free-spirited 59th Street Bridge Song or tell the sad tale of A Most Peculiar Man.
As an added bonus, the set list for the 1967 concert from which this album is taken included two rarities: A Church Is Burning and You Donít Know Where Your Interest Lies. The former is an essential track that portrays a vivid illustration of the religious, spiritual, and racial turmoil of the late í60s and had appeared on Simonís 1965 UK-only, solo effort. While the latter song was eventually recorded by the duo, it also was banished to the B-side of Fakiní It, no doubt due to its similarity to the far superior A Hazy Shade of Winter. Nevertheless, its inclusion here does provide some insight into the writing and performing process that Simon & Garfunkel utilized. In the end, however, itís all about the songs, and as evidenced by the magnificent music contained on Live from New York City, 1967, Simon and Garfunkel had them in droves.
Live from New York City, 1967 is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box