Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years, theSpace @ Symposium Hall has become over the past six years one of the great success stories of the Fringe, and there are three simple reasons for this – Dan Haynes and Pete Richards (aka Bookends) and the timeless music of Simon & Garfunkel. If you have not yet seen the show then the format is a simple one, but one so difficult to do properly – re-create the music and vocal harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel with nothing more than vocal hamonies and single guitar – no trickery, no trying to dress up and impersonate the originals, simple from the heart music from Pete (vocals) and Dan (vocals and guitar). This stripped down to the basics of songs in harmonies and melodies has made this show a hit every year and one always on my review calendar, and as Dan and Pete have far more S & G songs to play than can ever fit into the one hour format of this show, there is always something different to listen too.
Having said the above, this year Dan and Pete have tweaked the show format, but the emphasis is still on re-creating the “live performance” sounds of the music rather than the often over-complicated and over-dubbed studio sounds of S & G. This year, we have the addition of two new people on stage playing guitar, keyboards and drums as Dan and Pete felt it was time to add some extra layers of sound and depth to their music on stage. I have to admit that this decision did concern me a little this year as I am a big fan of their stripped down to basics music formula, and it has been the key to their success over the years. I need not have worried though, that stripped down “music for two” format is still a large part of the show and the extra instruments are used only when they are needed to add something “extra” to the song, and it all works so well, and as Dan and Pete of course always knew, they were right on this one and the guitars in particular are very well arranged with both still being individual but complementary to one another.
The songs on tonight’s set list were obviously not only known to most people in this full to capacity room, but also some of their favourites as every song got quite rightly deserved applause, and why not, songs like “The Boxer”, “America” and “Homeward Bound” are simply timeless classics and Dan and Pete are masters at bringing them back to life on stage. The new added instrumental sounds came into play very effectively on songs that did benefit from this carefully used addition – “Mrs Robinson”, “El Condor Pasa” and “The Sound of Silence” being a few of them. Perhaps for me the most successful of songs in this new format was Pete with keyboard accompaniment only to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the very simple and gospel influenced keyboard arrangement adding much to this song.
Perhaps as important to the success of this show is also the positive message that sometimes dreams really can come true in your life. Dan and Pete have been friends since childhood and both since then have shared a love of Simon & Garfunkels’s music. The fact that one day they would have a career touring the world with these songs and playing in venues like The Festival Theatre (just across from where this show is) was nothing more than a fantasy. Sometimes dreams not only do come true, but it happens to really nice people too.
This year Dan Haynes also has brought his own music to the Fringe and the show is called - Dan Haynes – Had Some Falls Tour. The venue is still theSpace @ Surgeons Hall at 15.10. The name of the show comes from Dan’s solo album which I recently reviewed. Show and album review links are below
Dan, Pete and the band are also performing in “Jagged Little Pill” a tribute to the classic album by Alanis Morissette
Clearly a busy Fringe and a busy year ahead of touring for “Bookends”. The show in its expanded format is also returning to The Festival Theatre Edinburgh as part of its tour schedule on 24th January 2020.
Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years
theSpace @ Symposium Hall
Country: United Kingdom - England
Review by Tom King