Simon & Garfunkel

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This is a soundboard tape (in stereo, no less) of a November 11, 1969, performance at Miami University in Oxford, OH, by the duo, backed by a full band, on what was their final tour. If they sound a little strained, it's probably because it was fairly clear to all concerned, even if they hadn't formally decided it yet, that this was close to the end of their partnership -- the banter from the stage is less freewheeling that in previous concert appearances, and although their voices are fine, they don't sound comfortable working with a band on-stage, at least not compared with how they sounded on their two-man tours of prior years. On the other hand, it is a chance to hear six of the Bridge Over Troubled Water songs done live, much of it sounding gorgeous ("So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Why Don't You Write Me," in particular, come off very well, and "The Boxer" comes complete with the extra verse), plus a seventh, "Cuba Si, Nixon No," a hard-rocking track in a Chuck Berry mode (musically, at least) that never made the final cut on the LP, as well as their version of "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine." Of course, trying to do "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and have it come off as anything more than a shadow of the studio production is a hopeless task, but the depth of Art Garfunkel's performance almost transcends the limitations of what any band could possibly do with the accompaniment on stage. It's also interesting to see which songs from their earlier repertory were still in their concert set -- there's no sign of "The Dangling Conversation" or "Scarborough Fair," but "Fakin' It," "At the Zoo," "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her," and "Poem on the Underground Wall" are still here, interspersed with perennials like "Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Homeward Bound." The acoustic tracks work the best, but it's still a good document of the duo's little acknowledged stage work.