Osaka Stadium, Osaka, Japan – May 8th, 1982
Disc 1 (53:07): Intro., Mrs. Robinson, Homeward Bound, America, Me And Julio Down By The School Yard, Scarborough Fair, My Little Town, Wake Up Little Susie, Still Crazy After All These Years, Bright Eyes, Late In The Evening, Slip Slidin’ Away, El Condor Pasa, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Disc 2 (48:00): American Tune, The Late Great Johnny Ace, Kodachrome/Maybellene, Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Boxer, Old Friends/Bookends Theme, The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), The Sound Of Silence, Late In The Evening, Member Introduction, The Boxer
Simon & Garfunkel’s reunion in Central Park in September 1981 was special enough for them to actually tour together for the first time in twelve years. The Summer Evening Tour began with five shows in Japan, their first visit to the country with the opening two in Osaka on May 7th and May 8th.
A very good to excellent audience recording exists of the second Osaka show and was released on At Osaka Stadium (Zion-003), one of their early titles. Eastbound utilizes the newly surfaced soundboard recording of most of the show.
It is slightly compressed with a bit of hiss present but till enjoyable. The audience tape is used to fill gaps at 2:49 in “El Condor Pasa” for a minute and at 3:05 in the reprise of “Late In The Evening” and runs through the member introduction and the reprise of “The Boxer.”
Simon & Garfunkel made a wise decision when they reunited in the early eighties by not attempting to reprise their duo act alone. Rather, augmented by Paul Simon’s band, the arrangements of their classics are much more rich and interesting than before.
On the Japan dates they were joined by John Eckert and John Gatchell on trumpet, Gerry Niewood and Fred Lipsius on saxophone, George Wadenius and Pete Carr on guitar, Richard Tee on keyboards, Ed Walsh on synthesizer, Wayne Pedzwater on bass and the amazing Steve Gadd on drums.
Since this is the third show of their reunion, the spirit is present but the band are still gaining confidence with the new arrangements even to the point where Simon has to give directions on stage (most notable in his “no sax” comment in “The Late Great Johnny Ace.”)
None of that detracts from the performance in any way. There is a surge of emotion in the opening of the show when they begin with “Mrs. Robinson,” “Homeward Bound” and a charged version of “America.”
All three are perfect example of the particular genius of Simon & Garfunkel at their peak, the perfect expression of finding transcendent meaning in life’s mundanity. All three, and the fourth song of the set “Me And Julio Down By The School Yard” all take as their starting point a desire to travel into unknown but with the realization that meaning is found in everyday life.
The rest of the set list leans heavily upon other Simon & Garfunkel classics, Paul Simon solo hits and Garfunkel’s “Bright Eyes” from the Watership Down soundtrack. “Kodachrome” is segued with “Maybellene” in the latter half of the show.
The emotional highpoint of the show is the hymn-like “Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water” and received the loudest ovation. The last three songs of the set, “Old Friends/Bookends Theme,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” and “The Sound Of Silence” are performed without the band’s accompaniment in a reprise of the old days.
The encores are “Late In The Evening” and “The Boxer,” both for the second time of the night. Overall the sound quality of the soundboard is very good to excellent and is a great release by Zion, especially since this is the first Simon & Garfunkel silver in years.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)