Except for their four-minute reunion earlier this year to perform ''The Sound of Silence'' on the Grammys, silence has characterized the partnership of Simon & Garfunkel for the past decade. Now, however, Billboard reports that the folk duo may reunite this winter for an arena tour. Their agents are talking in ''initial explorations'' about a tour, Billboard quotes sources close to the duo as saying. It would be their first jaunt in nine years, since their ''Concert Event of a Lifetime'' tour in 1994. Gee, how can they top that? Concert Event of the Millennium?
At the time of their Grammy gig in February, the folk-rock veterans stated explicitly that their awards-show performance was a one-time-only event that would not lead to a tour. Also, both artists are going to be busy for a while; Art Garfunkel has solo tour dates booked through mid-November, while Paul Simon is in the studio working on a new solo album, Billboard reports. Still, there is renewed interest in their music, not just from their Grammy appearance, but also thanks to a fan named Clay Aiken who was born nine years after Simon & Garfunkel released their last studio album. The ''American Idol'' runner-up put his cover of the duo's 33-year-old ballad ''Bridge Over Troubled Water'' on the B-side of his single ''This Is the Night,'' which is expected to debut atop Billboard's singles chart this week. Now, if ''Idol'' winner Ruben Studdard would just cover ''Feelin' Groovy,'' Simon & Garfunkel could pre-sell tickets to those winter shows in no time. Or at least serve as guest judges on ''Idol'' next January.