Periodically, the screens flashed images from the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement, peace protests and lovers to which the majority of the audience responded with sighs of recognition and familiarity.
As the house lights went up, the famous pair stepped onstage together for the first time since 1983, softly playing the sentimental tune Old Friends. The gentle hit was barely audible above the roaring audience, many of whom were overcome at the sight of the endearingly humble duo.
After the initial swells of applause quieted, the pair segued into the bittersweet Bookends (from the 1968 album of the same name), and proceeded to play one of the most memorable sets many had ever witnessed. Nearly all of the duos favorites were covered, each with soulful deliberation and noticeable emotion. The result was an evening of pure nostalgia.
As they soared through rousing tunes such as At the Zoo and Baby Driver, Simon and Garfunkel sang with an emotional and melodic unity that they had not displayed for upwards of 20 years.
Slowing the concerts pace, the pair then played Scarborough Fair/Canticle (during which time they unveiled some of the most beautiful harmonies theyd ever produced) and America, followed by Kathys Song, which Garfunkel insisted was the most beautiful love song that Paul has ever written.
A exceptionally talented band accompanied the duo, and added a powerful (though at times, overly orchestrated) dimension to the music. A haunting autoharp lent unprecedented beauty to The Boxer in the pairs first encore, while an electric guitar spiced up Hazy Shade of Winter and I Am A Rock.
The duos closeness, though once seemingly displaced, appeared as if it still ran deep; Garfunkel announced that the pairs rather implausible reunion tour coincided with the 50th anniversary of their friendship.
The pair began performing together as children: Garfunkel played the Cheshire Cat opposite Simons White Rabbit in a grade school production of Alice in Wonderland. At 13, they began making music under the pseudonyms Tom and Jerry, and at 16 they released their first album. One of their very first songs the lighthearted and unpolished To the Schoolgirl in the Second Row was playfully included in their phenomenal set list.
The clarity and radiance of Garfunkels voice seemed hardly diminished by the strain of time and age, and Simons genius for songwriting has never been more apparent. Several of Simons solo hits, including Slip Slidin Away and My Little Town, were only improved by the addition of Garfunkels distinctive vocals.
The performance of My Little Town was also revitalized by another surprising addition Simon, his guitar swung low, in a bout of fervent dancing that conjured up images of Elvis and James Brown. His uncharacteristically energetic gyrations were testament to the jovial and laid-back ambiance of the concert.
Amidst other classic tunes such as The Only Living Boy in New York and Homeward Bound, Garfunkel and Simon took a break to lend the stage to their friends the Everly Brothers, who sounded wonderfully upbeat with their hits Wake Up, Little Susie, All I Have to Do is Dream and Let It Be Me. Then the brothers welcomed Art and Paul back for a lively duet of Bye Bye Love, an Everly Brothers original hit which both groups made popular (the Everly Brothers in 1958, Simon and Garfunkel in 1970).
The show finished with a solid double-encore, the first of which included the almost irritatingly catchy Cecilia and the second of which ended with The 59th Street Bridge (Feelin Groovy). By the end of the show, most of the audience was on their feet, dancing (and likely reminiscing about eras past).
The pair lingered on stage for several minutes after their music had subsided, as though they were sorry to see the evening end. After waving graciously to the crowd, they reluctantly withdrew from sight. The resounding applause of the grateful and satisfied audience was proof enough that the two old friends reunited, at last still have what it takes to put on a truly unforgettable performance.