On their first concert tour in 20 years, Simon and Garfunkel performed beautifully at the Palace on the night of Oct. 19, dishing out a large and mostly tasteful helping of nostalgia to a primarily baby boomer audience eager to take a stroll down memory lane. The notoriously quarrelsome duo appeared relaxed and genuinely happy to be on stage together, delivering a well-paced show that like many of their tunes induced both reflection and euphoric satisfaction.

Billed the “Old Friends Tour,” this outing came as a surprise to many who had witnessed the well-publicized tumultuous relationship between Simon and Garfunkel since their breakup at the height of their popularity in 1970. The concert made no effort to hide its intent to act as a conduit to the past. At its close Simon thanked the crowd for the opportunity “to reconnect with his generation,” a generation that his music has meant so much to. In fact the show started with a slight prod of the audience into this theme, a video montage flashing major events from the last 50 or so years of world history along with images of the duo throughout the same period.

The concert’s unabashed attempt at provoking reflection might have seemed inauthentic if the music hadn’t succeeded so incredibly well. Backed by a flexible and dynamic seven-piece band, Simon and Garfunkel performed live versions of their hits that were true to the original studio versions while injecting an appropriate contemporary flair here and there. In what seemed like heaven for some and a bathroom break for others, the Everly Brothers appeared halfway through the show to perform a few of their hits.

All of the highlights of the duo’s career were concert highlights including “Mrs. Robinson,” “The Boxer,” “America” and “Feelin’ Groovy.” The volume was loud enough so one could sing along without hearing himself, offering an opportunity for everyone to react to the music however they wanted. “Homeward Bound” was the most successful innovation of the two hour set, the band briefly recalling the Grateful Dead as they gave the song an extended groovy, country rock ending.

The forced in-between song banter failed to subtly suggest that this reunion of two notoriously combative partners was purely an outing of two guys with a deep and lasting friendship. This became a moot point as the show unfolded, the gorgeous performance of each song itself feeling like a long awaited reunion with a best friend.

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