Sunday, November 15, 2015

Old Friends

He began with an apology, of sorts. As he strained to capture the remains of a once wondrous voice, all those who listened gave a collective shudder.

Art Garfunkel appeared as a reminder that things do not stay the same forever. Within the sea of white hair that stared at this vaguely familiar looking image, there beat the hearts of those who recalled the halcyon days. When the man on stage projected one full and glorious note after another. Who was this bald headed elder statesman?

It is unfair to demand of our legends that they do not grow old. That they stay as Peter Pan that they look as Dorian Gray, that the constraints that nature imposes on mere mortals somehow fails to apply to them. That they remain frozen, images to be reconstituted at our pleasure.

If one gave this man on stage a chance, the words that came forth still resonated with the same astonishing beauty.  The lyrics so full, the images so vivid. But it was hard to get past the shortened sets, the truncated songs, the missing phrases that were beyond the reach of this version of Art Garfunkel.

He tried to fill in the gaps with short tales that he read, as he put his glasses on so he could, like the rest of those assembled, see the small print. He was, in a word, old. Not like in old friend, but as in one who had been on this stage seemingly since the first light of day. And it was now deep into the night.

I wanted to love this evening. I struggled to like this evening. I could not will myself to any other conclusion.

And as he ended the shortened performance with but two verses of Bridge Over Troubled Water I wondered if Mr. Garfunkel was not himself weary and feeling a little small.

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