Top positive review
A classic live recording, but mediocre sound quality.
on June 9, 2003
Barbra's sensational once-in-a-lifetime Central Park concert in front of an audience of over 130,000 people deserves a better presentation on compact disc. The first problem is that Barbra performed for two and half hours that night, yet only 37 minutes of the show are included on the album. Yes, I realize that this is as much of the show that would fit on a vinyl record in 1968, but I certainly feel that now (in the compact disc age) that the entire, full-length concert should be issued on two CDs. Another problem is this disc's passable, yet disappointing sound quality.
The fault lies in the source tape, which Columbia Records recorded separately from CBS TV, who broadcasted the show on television. There is noticeable hissing and even some distortion present, which distracts from the intimacy of the show at times. Barbra's performance is outstanding and deserves to be heard in it's entirety with the best sound quality possible.
I wish Columbia would get a hold of the CBS master tapes (which, though imperfect, are an improvement) and master a new disc from it. A HAPPENING, audio flaws and all, is definitely worth listening to because the concert is so terrific. However I would advise Streisand fans to consider hunting down the currently out-of-print CBS/Fox videocassette or the Pioneer laserdisc of the show. The video is also edited (to 55 minutes), but at least it offers the visuals and better sound quality as well.