Bridge Over Troubled Water, a song by American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, was released in 1970. 52 years later, you’ll find that the comment section of the song online is still flooded with stories from listeners from all walks of life, sharing their anecdotes of love, loss and grief. In their pocket of a bittersweet memory, lie the lyrics, “Oh, when times get rough, And friends just can’t be found, Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”
It’s surreal to think how a tune from the ‘70s still has such a profound impact on the audience of today, but that is simply a testament to the magic of Simon & Garfunkel – the duo which produced evergreen hits, capturing the hearts and imaginations of an entire generation and many more after.
Bringing this very magic on stage and paying homage to the iconic duo is The Simon & Garfunkel Story, the internationally acclaimed hit show. The sell-out show from 2017 is returning for two nights only, on the 5th and 6th of August, at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, presented by Base Entertainment Asia. Coming straight from the West End and following a sold-out worldwide tour, The Simon & Garfunkel Story will be a rare treat for fans and music-lovers alike to relieve hits like The Sound of Silence, Cecilia, The Boxer and many more, which took the folk-rock world by storm!
The concert charts the legendary journey shared by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. One of the defining features of the Simon & Garfunkel Story is that the show is not formatted as a play or a musical. Rather, it invites us to a multimedia concert experience, blending live performance elements with projections of archival footage in the background.
Helming the titular roles of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are Adam Dickinson and Cameron Potts respectively – the latter with whom I had the pleasure of chatting! Potts, who has been with the show for two and a half years, is looking forward to his Singapore debut, especially after performances and travel were restricted due to the pandemic.
According to Potts, the intent is to allow audiences to understand the context of the songs and the events which informed Simon & Garfunkel’s songwriting. Experiences such as the assassination of JFK, Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon and the Vietnam War, were events which were monumental in the ‘60s and ‘70s and altered the cultural and psychological fabric of the nation. As such, presenting archival footage as part of the concert experience seeks to imbue a sense of realism into the performance and pay tribute to the past.
Beyond the element of projections, the singers themselves go in and out of re-enacting the characters of Simon and Garfunkel and playing their tribute as individuals and as performers. According to Potts, audiences will get to see parts of the show where the singers are dressed akin to what is seen on the iconic album covers of Simon and Garfunkel, with the intent of re-creating the atmosphere the original duo did during their concerts. Other times, especially during their solos, singers in the show see themselves as paying tribute to the legends, without necessarily honing their character.
One of Potts’s favourite parts about doing a show like The Simon & Garfunkel Story is being able to touch audiences through his performance. Growing up, Potts’ father used to play songs like Bridge over Troubled Water on their recorder, and the duo’s songs remind the singer of Sunday afternoons he spent with his father listening to music. As a performer now, Potts is deeply aware of the effect songs of Simon & Garfunkel have on audiences and sees it as a privilege to be able to evoke memories and be a vessel through which audiences can reminisce their own pasts.
When asked what it feels like to be able to sing such classics to a modern audience, Potts mentioned that “we don’t get music like that anymore; the songwriting of the 21st century is different, which is why it’s great to do a show presenting and celebrating the musical history of Simon and Garfunkel.”
As a theatre enthusiast myself, I am always in awe of how performance can be such a powerful medium to simultaneously preserve history and take us back in time, to a specific place or emotion. The Simon & Garfunkel show harnesses that precise power to bring audiences two and a half hours of music, memories and magic.
As Potts puts it, “We’ve lived through an awful lot over the last 50 years, and this music has been the soundtrack to our lives. Therefore, we can leave the theatre confident that we will live through the next 50 years of whatever comes our way with great music.”
Fan of Simon & Garfunkel or not, the show is definitely not one to miss. The Simon and Garfunkel Story will be showing on the 5th and 6th of August at Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Tickets can be purchased via SISTIC or Marina Bay Sands ticketing.
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to delve into an evening of ‘60s and ‘70s folk rock and partake in a musical experience like no other with The Simon & Garfunkel Story.
Visuals courtesy of Base Entertainment Asia.