The concert with Art Garfunkel on Saturday night at the Performing Arts Center almost didn’t happen. A few years ago Mr. Garfunkel lost his voice, that magnificent high countertenor as familiar to nearly every one of a certain era as the first gas guzzling car one drove, the Marantz stereo and record player situated just so in the center of the bedroom, and the stack of albums organized in a blue milk crate. The voice had come back to its full strength recently, but somehow, while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard this week with his wife and nine-year-old son, it began giving him trouble.

He seriously considered canceling the concert, he told the near sell-out audience. But at the last minute he decided the show must go on.

On stage it was just Art and his guitarist Tab Laven, two stools and a table — and, of course, the voice. Mr. Garfunkel began the show by talking openly about his struggle with his voice, setting the tone for a night of humility and heart. He said he’d give it a try, answer questions from the audience, and see what happened. And then he opened with The Boxer and any worries of a voice not up to the task vanished.

I am just a poor boy. Though my story’s seldom told, I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles.

The show, although filled with songs from the past, was firmly rooted in the present. Mr. Garfunkel read snippets of his poetry and prose, parts of his memoir and talked candidly about his journey inside and outside of show business. He is a walker, having traveled by foot the breadth of this country and several European countries too, and his stage persona reflects this way of looking at life. He recounted how for a CBS series he was asked to write a note to his younger self. He said he did so with one foot in the past and one in the present, thinking of his own young son. His advice, he said, could be summed up with two directives — be alive to the mystery of life and be kind to others.

In the middle of the show, soon after singing Scarborough Fair, the house lights were turned up and the microphone passed around to members of the audience. The first question was asked by his guitarist.

“Have you ever met the Beatles?” Mr. Laven asked.

It was a softball question. Of course he had. But this was not a moment to name drop, but rather an opportunity for Mr. Garfunkel to share personal anecdotes about his heroes, whom he had met individually during his career — George Harrison at his English castle who he wanted very much to sing with, doing a late night soft shoe dance with Ringo Starr, and bothering Paul McCartney by asking twice, incredulously, whether he had in fact been the piano player on all of the Beatles recordings. (The answer was yes.) He also testified to the overflowing generosity of John Lennon whom he met at a party given at Mr. Lennon’s apartment, the Dakota in New York city, shortly before his murder. “He asked me for musical advice,” Mr. Garfunkel said, still seeming shocked. “The musical genius wanted to know what I thought.”

Mr. Garfunkel also told a story about meeting Bob Dylan and being invited up to his Minnesota farm.

“But I think what he really wanted to know, was what Paul was up to,” Mr. Garfunkel said with a wry smile.

And yes, one would expect the spectre of Paul Simon to hover and perhaps overshadow nearly every moment of an evening with Art Garfunkel, but it never did.

The second question came from an audience member, Mr. Garfunkel’s wife Kathryn actually, who asked him whether he and Paul Simon were still friends. Mr. Garfunkel said he knew that was what everyone really wanted to know and so rather than make someone in the audience feel uncomfortable asking it, his wife did the honors.

“It ebbs and flows,” he said. “But not at the moment. Not really.”

Between songs from his solo career, Mr. Garfunkel told stories about growing up in Queens, and about his father, a traveling salesman who worked up and down the Northeast selling clothes. Mr. Garfunkel remembered going to synagogue as a boy, and how when he sang prayers there he would see the old men in the front row cry. That was when he first realized he might have a gift he said, and then he sang one of those old prayers and the tears flowed again.

Someone asked if he had a favorite concert out of all the ones he performed. There was no hesitation. The free concert he and Mr. Simon gave in Central Park in September 1981. A performer gets his energy and his love from the audience, Mr. Garfunkel said, and to have over half a million people sending that amount of love to you was unforgettable. Many in the audience testified to being at that concert and how much it meant to them to attend something so memorable at a time in their young lives when they would not have had the money to pay for a ticket.

The last question of the evening, a thank you really, came from a German man who said that as a young boy in Germany his class was required to listen to and study the Sound of Silence. The song and the experience had stayed with him ever since.

Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

“What the heck,” Mr. Garfunkel said. “Let’s give it a try.” And with that he launched into the song, the voice seeking to find the high notes that it had once mastered with ease, having some trouble now at the end of the show, but in the process becoming something even more special and lasting.

The show closed with Mr. Garfunkel sending his audience home to bed by singing an old lullaby.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Goodnight Martha’s Vineyard.