It is always an interesting experience when you go to see a ‘tribute’ act. I’m often left wondering whether the audience are hearing the band at all or, riding on the wave of fancy dressed efforts to look like the artists, are they just singing along to the memory of the original. That’s where Tim Chu and Ian Bailey’s “A Celebration of Simon and Garfunkel” is different.
This is not a show setting out to try and be their heroes; it is pure and simple a celebration of the music that means so much to them. They capture the essence of Paul and Art without ever slipping into bad impressions. It is obvious when listening to Ian Bailey’s own work how much of an influence S&G are on him, the very same can be said of Tim Chu. So when they start singing ‘America’ the sonic similarities in the harmonies are full of the same emotional strength and tonal unity as the original, yet at no point do I find myself closing my eyes and imagining myself back in a 1960’s New York folk club. Instead I am finding a renewed love in the songs I adore, played by extremely talented musicians.
Each song ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’, ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘The Boxer’ are played with passion and respect yet they hold a uniqueness in the way the pair deliver the tunes. Tim creates wonderful intros and fills with some of the finest fret work I have seen and heard from an acoustic player. Ian backs this up with some truly brilliant rhythm work, and I’m not just talking about strumming the odd chord. He plays bass lines on a standard 6 string, uses the back of the guitar as a make shift drum and even has an egg to shake.
They’re version of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ is a triumph. The first time I went to see them I was wondering how on earth they were going to tackle that masterpiece. The answer is quite simply brilliant.
Going to see Tim Chu and Ian Bailey perform “A Celebration of Simon and Garfunkel” is a fantastic night of top quality performances of top quality songs. It’s not a tribute act; it’s a stand alone show, a study of the music.
If you like the original S&G material, this show is the closest thing you’ll get to seeing them live!
Colin Davies (Author)