The goal is synergy.
And Paul Simon and Sting are hoping to experience it in abundance during their much-heralded On Stage Together tour, which touches down Monday at the SAP Center in San Jose. These stars are looking to inspire each other to great heights.
"I think it's not so much a spirit of competition between us," Sting told Rolling Stone magazine. "It's just raising each other's game to be together. I feel I have to raise my game to be onstage with him."
It's only fitting that these musicians are now sharing a stage, given how much their legendary careers have had in common.
Sure, it might not seem that way at first glance. After all, Simon came to fame in the '60s, singing precious folk tunes with Art Garfunkel, Sting burst onto the scene in the '70s, as the leader of the new wave juggernaut the Police.
Examine their careers, however, and you'll find the similarities. It's those, we believe, that will make for great synergy onstage.
Sting and Simon are likely to perform separately and together on this tour, maybe even singing each other's songs. That should be a huge treat for the performers, who form a kind of mutual admiration society, and for fans.
"He's the master," Sting said of Simon in an Associated Press interview. "If I ever wanted to emulate a literary and literate songwriter, then Paul Simon would be the person I would go to."
So let's look back over their careers with a lens that magnifies the similarities:
School days: Both are well-educated. Sting studied at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle to become a teacher; Simon majored in English at Queens College in New York and then attended Brooklyn Law School. They were drawn to the books but not as much as to music.
Jazz influences: Sting cut his teeth in jazz bands during his early 20s, before turning to rock 'n' roll. He later returned to a jazzier sound, albeit untraditional, during his solo career. Simon was also interested in jazz, yet a passion for Everly Brothers-type harmonies pulled him in a different direction. But he still has the chops to share a stage with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, as he did in 2012.
What's in a name: Legend has it that Gordon Sumner liked to wear a yellow-and-black striped sweater that made him look like a bee; hence the nickname "Sting." As teen stars, Simon & Garfunkel used the moniker "Tom and Jerry." (If they hadn't changed that name, lawyers for MGM -- the studio behind the "Tom and Jerry" cartoon franchise -- might have had something to say.)
Act 1: Both artists came to fame as members of acts rather than soloists. That loomed large when each finally embarked on a solo career -- making some wonder whether they could escape the shadow of their past. But that challenge seemed to motivate and inspire each musician.
Transatlantic parallels: Simon moved to England to pursue a brief solo career in the mid-'60s, after the first Simon & Garfunkel album flopped. It was there that he met girlfriend Kathy Chitty, who is said to have inspired such classics as "Kathy's Song" and "America." His time in England was cut short when he learned that "The Sound of Silence" had become the No. 1 hit in the U.S., solidifying Simon & Garfunkel for years to come. Sting took a major step toward a solo career while on tour with the Police in the U.S. According to legend, he decided to leave the Police while the band was performing at New York's Shea Stadium in 1983.
Impressive debuts: Both artists experienced huge solo success right out of the gate. Sting's solo album "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (1985) featured hits such as "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" and "Fortress Around Your Heart." He earned several Grammy nominations and quickly achieved triple-platinum sales. Simon's first post-Garfunkel disc, released in 1972, was hailed by critics and devoured by fans. It featured two of the songwriter's best tunes -- "Mother and Child Reunion" and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
Beyond pop: The solo careers of each musician have demonstrated a willingness to embrace various musical styles. Simon, a genius in this regard, started his solo career with the reggae-flavored "Mother and Child Reunion" and the gospel-inflected "Loves Me Like a Rock," among others. Then he turned to a South African sound with the 1986 career highlight "Graceland." Sting has drawn heavily from world-music styles, as heard on the Middle Eastern-flavored "Desert Rose." And he never lost his taste for jazz. His first solo album featured talented jazz musicians, including saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and won him a Grammy nomination for best jazz instrumental performance.
Rock and Roll of Hall of Fame: Simon is a two-time inductee, enshrined in 1990 for his Simon & Garfunkel work and then again as a solo artist in 2001. Sting was inducted in 2003 with the Police, and it's widely believed that someday his solo career will be honored.
Neighbors: Did we mention that Sting and Simon lived in the same (presumably luxurious) New York apartment building for something like 25 years? Now, that's just spooky.
Paul Simon and Sting in concert
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Where: SAP Center at San Jose
Tickets: $80-$250, www.ticketmaster.com