Art Garfunkel, Symphony Hall * * * *
In the week when British art went through the roof at Sotheby's and Christies, a piece of American art proved just as priceless in Birmingham on Friday evening.
Art Garfunkel, with his accomplished four piece band, played to a sell-out crowd at the Symphony Hall and simply rolled back the years with a collection of timeless songs and stories.
Despite the fact that the concert was some 20 minutes late in starting and some natives were getting restless, by the time Art had opened with American Tune and got four bars into Homeward Bound, the audience were sitting in the palm of his hand.
His set list was littered with classic Paul Simon songs, some like The Boxer and El Condor Pasa being reworked with the Garfunkel stamp, others such as Kathy's Song and Scarborough Fair being sung as faithfully as the original recordings.
Other notable American song-writers such as Randy Newman and Billy Joel also provided songs for Art to interpret in his own inimitable style.
At the age of 64, Mr Garfunkel doesn't need to do this for money, so it was doubly pleasurable to see the enjoyment on his face both with the way the arrangements were working and with the reception he received from his adoring audience.
For many, he was "the voice" of Simon and Garfunkel, and this was never more so than on the mighty Bridge Over Troubled Water. I don't know how many times he has sung the song, and whether he must get sick and tired of it, but the version at this show was a tour de force where collective hairs stood up on the backs of necks.
It was a truly defining moment. The show's final section featured an appearance by Art's son James, who joined his father on a very lively Cecilia, and then sang an engaging version of The Fleet-woods' Mr Blue.
The show encored with Good-night My Love, the song with which Alan Freed used to close his rock 'n' roll show in the fifties, and the song that first brought the fledging Simon and Garfunkel together.
To paraphrase another notable 64 year old, one Paul James McCartney, a "splendid time was had by all"