The Sounds of Applause

Simon and Garfunkle gave two sell-out benefit concerts last weekend in Ram at Gan. The duo performed for a combined crowd of 90,000 fans — old and young — who packed the stadium in order to hear favorites such as “Sounds of Silence.” “The Boxer,” “Homeward Bound,” “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and a couple of new unrecorded songs — “Cars are Cars” and “The Late Great Johnny Ace.”

At times the concert became a sing-along, as the fans joined the duo. At Saturday night’s performance, Poul Simon was so overwhelmed, he noted to the crowd, a bit teary-eyed, “I want to say so much, but I can’t. I’m just so happy to be here.” The audience receptively brought the singers back for four encores.

And yet after the concert people had very mixed response. Many complained that the duo had made little effort to make performing in Israel a special event. They did not include anything typically Jewish or Israeli in their repetoire, nor did they make mention of either theme.

One spectator seemed to sum up the event by remarking, “They were slick — they performed on a schedule, sang the songs we expected to hear during a two-hour span, and did their duty just as they did in New York two years ago. We paid to hear them sing and that’s what they did.”

The proceeds of both concerts are going to children’s charity through the Variety Club of Israel.

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