Reviewer: Donna Kelly
After sell-out runs in 2014 and 2015, tribute act Bookends return to the stage to pay homage to one of the greatest pairings in modern folk music history – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
Made up of childhood friends Dan Haynes and Pete Richards, the Bookends duo are best known for their authentic sound. Unlike other tribute acts which mimic both the look and the style of a particular artist, Haynes and Richards distinguish themselves by stating clearly that they are paying tribute to the music – not the men – which is just as well considering they bear no resemblance whatsoever to the original artistes. Instead, the talented folk duo focus their energy on creating an authentic Simon &Garfunkel sound, delivering a polished performance with their delicate close harmonies and exquisite vocal arrangement.
The 110 minute show sees the pair perform hits from Simon &Garfunkel’s incredible songbook including Mrs Robinson, The Sound of Silence, Homeward Bound, The Boxer and A Hazy Shade of Winter, as well as a live version of Richard Cory and a unique performance of Bookends album track Punky’s Dilemma.
Much like the original artistes, Haynes and Richards are talented musicians in their own right, with the pair performing the songs acoustically in the first half, Haynes playing Simon’s intricate guitar pieces with skill and ease. In between the numbers, the duo talk about their love for the music, entertaining the audience with witty antidotes about the songs and their own personal journey. They also add their own interpretation to some of the songs, with the pianoless arrangement of Bridge Over Troubled Waters as the highlight of the show.
Alongside the live performances, audio and visual footage of the original artistes is used tell the story of two high school chums who went on to record some the most iconic songs of the 60s and 70s. Narration from Victoria Kingston’s book Simon and Garfunkel – The Definitive Biography is used to document their chronological journey, from their high school act as Tom &Jerry to their much publicised breakup.
While the movie footage and interview snippets reveal some interesting titbits, occasionally the visual accompaniment overlaps with the live performance and becomes a distraction at times. The introduction of the string quartet in second half also overpowers some of the vocals, making it difficult to Haynes and Richards’ soft and gentle harmonies on occasion.
That said, Bookends have worked hard to put together a unique, multi-layered show that pays tribute to the men and their music. The pair’s passion for the music is heartfelt, touching and moving, resulting in a musical tribute that is worthy of its sell-out status.
Reviewed on 2 April 2016