The Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years show by Dan Haynes (guitar and vocals) and Pete Richards (vocals) has over the years become a staple fixture of the Edinburgh Fringe @theSpaceUK, and the reason for that is simple for anyone that has seen this show over the years.
If you are perhaps a little bit put off at the thought of seeing “another tribute act”, then put that idea to one side as the one thing they are definitely not is a tribute act in the more commonly used sense of the words. In fact, by their own admission, they look nothing like Simon & Garfunkel and wish to make no pretence whatsoever to do such a thing. What this show is a tribute to is the timeless music of Simon & Garfunkel and Dan Haynes and Pete Richards are simply two of the best interpreters of these classic songs out there performing them today.
This show is not only from two people with a mutual love of these songs, but two people with the ability to actually do them justice, and they do it so effortlessly that it is all too easy to forget just how complex the musical structure and the harmonies and phrasing of these songs actually are.
If you have seen the show before, then come and see it again as due to the performance time for a Fringe show against the amount of classic songs in the Simon & Garfunkel back catalogue, this is a changing set every year…although a few classics simply have to be there.
This year we start all the way back at Simon & Garfunkel when they were then known as Tom & Jerry and trying their best to emulate their idols like The Everly Brothers. It is fair to say that this early start was to give little clue as to what was to follow later and just what a major songwriter Paul Simon would become.
I never give set lists away, but a few songs do need a mention. Perhaps more powerful, and more important than ever that it be heard is the almost prophetic “The Sound Of Silence” with its warning of what happens if we remain silent on the wrongs and injustices in this world, and that one line “Silence like a cancer grows” says everything.
This year, the performance space for this show is a large marquee with plenty of open air, and something about the outdoor rather than indoor space seemed to make this interpretation of “Scarborough Fair” and its series of impossible tasks to be performed even more hauntingly timeless.
One very stripped down song that is a favourite of mine from this set was Pete on vocals (with keyboard accompaniment from Jonny Knight) on Bridge Over Troubled Water. I always find the studio album version of this overproduced and this song is so beautifully written that it suits a stripped down arrangement better, and Pete gets this one just right.
This year we have an extra layering of sound and depth to the music with Jonny Knight on guitar and keyboards.
If you like this show, then put a date in your diary for next year when the extended show and expanded sounds come to The Festival Theatre on 9th January 2022.
Review by Tom King (c) 2021
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