In total disbelief, I see in the paper last Wednesday morning that Simon & Garfunkel will perform in concert in Madison at the Kohl Center on May 9th. Amid the hazy shades of the end of our winter, my excitement levels explode until I realize that we will be in Greensboro, NC that weekend, attending a certain college graduate’s transition to the real world. Mood plummets to bleecker depths. I check the return air flight, which is supposed to arrive in Madison at 7:50pm Sunday night, May 9th. IF we had tickets to S&G, and IF the planes (2 legs) are on time, we could arrive late to the concert and at least see/hear most of it.
Why Madison, Paul & Artie? Checking online, S&G will perform at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in late April, followed by concerts in 5 Canadian cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Then they continue on to… get this… Fargo ND, St Paul MN, and Mighty Madison WI. After that May 9th concert, off they go again to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Explain me all this. AND WE’RE OUT OF TOWN THAT WEEKEND. I just can’t stand it. And why Madison, indeed? Art Garfunkel has performed here twice on his own in the 6 years we’ve lived here — the first time in Sept 2004 during the grand opening of the Overture Center, he sang with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. He was here again on his own and we attended again. But the only time previously that I’ve seen them together was at the MCI Center in DC in December 2003 at the Old Friends concert. It’s painful, remembering how much I paid for those tickets. But oh how I loved the concert. What people will do for fine music that brings back memories of an entire chunk of coming-of-age years. Somehow, Madison has some groovy thing goin’ — we get S&G in 2010. Most peculiar.
I checked online to see what it would cost to change the flight time for homeward bound from Greensboro, looking at Orbitz through whom we originally booked our tickets. $260 for both of us to change the damn time of return to earlier in the day; not exactly designed to keep those customers satisfied. How I hate flying… let me count the ways. How can I justify that? Well, I can’t.
Simon & Garfunkel are 10 years older than me. When I was 2 and moving to upstate New York, they met in an elementary school play in Queens — Alice in Wonderland. [I hope there are photos from that event in their scrapbook albums.] The year my family moved to South Florida, S&G hit the folk scene in Greenwich Village (1963). One of my clearer memories from the dim angst of junior high school in 1966 comes from my first school dance, in which I danced to The Sound of Silence, which had become my favorite song of the year. Hello darkness my old friend sums up that ninth grade year in the tropical humidity of my little town’s Junior High School. Music helped get me through those troubled-water years.
Off to college in Gainesville, Florida, mightily distressed that S&G might break up. That last album came out in 1970, in the middle of my very troubled freshman year. But as always, music helped me bridge the gap between painful life lessons and the courage to continue. I was playing guitar by then and figuring out how to strum their songs and sing along. As the two went their own ways, I followed both careers and bought record albums, memorizing the words to songs because I played them so much. 1974 and all I know is that I bought every one of Artie’s albums and they seemed written for me and my individual small anxieties. Fast forward to 1987 when our little precocious son, walking at 9 months, loved to “dance” to Graceland. I think we even have it on video.
So… how many more concerts will there be… and impossibly… I can’t even say it. This is my last chance to see them perform, and our youngest is The Graduate of the hour. And it costs too much to change the tickets. Do we dare chance it to buy tickets in advance and make it to most of the concert? Do we not buy tickets and see if we can get in a few moments after the concert starts, because maybe there’ll be a couple vacant seats? Well… after all these years, I’m just crazy enough to try something… anything… except $260 to the airlines… to see S&G perform.
Or… I could adopt a mature Zen attitude and let it all go. And listen to them on my iPod. So long, Frank Lloyd Wright.