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Concert in Central Park Live
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Here's the historic 1981 concert that reunited the famed folk duo after an 11-year break. Hear these "old friends" as they play many of their greatest hits, plus some of Paul's subsequent solo classics.
You can almost hear Simon & Garfunkel begin to like each other again on this now-legendary set. On September 19, 1981, the duo reunited for just the second time since their initial breakup and revealed a camaraderie that had apparently vanished years earlier. Not only do they reprise their shared hits, they also work in a few of Paul Simon's solo gems and a couple of telling covers--one from the Everly Brothers and one from Chuck Berry. The band includes the best session men around. By the time they get to the sincerity of "Old Friends" and the joy of "The 59th Street Bridge Song," you sense a relationship fully repaired. After this success, they even planned a studio record together--one that eventually became Simon's overlooked Hearts and Bones--few were surprised when it did not come to pass. --Marc Greilsamer
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Top Customer Reviews
It was recorded a decade after the break-up of the duo, and features a full backing band, complete with a subtle, well-used horn ensemble, and Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel perform truly excellent versions of classics like "Mrs Robinson", "The Sound Of Silence", "Homeward Bound", "The Boxer" and a magnificent "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
And the presence of Art Garfunkel (and the fine backing band) makes for some superb live renditions of several of Paul Simon's best solo tunes, especially "Still Crazy After All These Years", "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard" and "Slip Slidin' Away", which features Garfunkel's masterful harmony vocals.
This album is much more lively than the duo's strictly acoustic outings from the 60s, and it is highly recommended as one of the very best live albums of the 80s, one that really adds something to the artists' legacies.
Of course, the concert has its less-successful moments, but to each his own. I'm not a big fan of, say, "A Heart in NY," or "Bridge..." for that matter. However, if you go for the ballads, these are austere, lovely, and haunting as ever.
Overall, this concert recording has many high points and a few mixed bags. The high points are new and innovative and fun, but still conjure up that...umm, nostalgia. Hey, I'm not old enough to be nostalgic about them but what I mean is that the "souls" of the songs are still strong as ever.
One final note: If you're interested in this music, I highly recommend the VIDEO/DVD of the Concert in Central Park. I believe it contains the FULL concert, with some amazing moments (Johnny Ace brings tears, yes I'm a sap)and the same great music. Check it out...a great concert video, straight up, captures the spirit of the night.
This CD is actually better than I originally remember it. Maybe I was just too wrapped up in my new wave years (I was a junior in college at the time the album was released), but both men were in strong form vocally. It also meant that, as a greatest hits sort of show, all the bases are essentially covered. Even the Paul Simon solo material comes across as well matched (in particular, "American Tune" which rings truer in the post 9/11 world as it did back then). The instrumentation is a bit dated, Richard Tee's keyboards especially, but that's more the fault of the times than of performance.
And the performances here are superb. Oddly, the one major omission from the disc is "The Late Great Johnny Ace." If you watch the DVD of the concert, it was Simon's tribute to John Lennon and is when a fan charges the stage, distracting Simon from the microphone. Art Garfunkle is relegated to only one solo hit here, and naturally it's "A Heart In New York." Just as "counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike" gets a huge outburst of applause (it did here in Philly, too), "Heart" brings the crowd to express itself with exuberence.Read more ›
So why not five stars? I suppose it's because I saw the video of the concert not long after release and again recently. Yes, there was tension between Paul and Art. They may have been into the music that night and glad to entertain the audience, but they didn't look real thrilled to be together. On the audio CD, note that while both talk to the audience and introduce various band members, there's no banter with each other. Doesn't sound like much, but it stands out. As such, "Old Friends" sounds a wee bit forced.
That said, this is a must for any S&G fan or anyone who has more recently gotten on board with either (i.e. Paul Simon's long-running solo career). Again, the band sounds great, and Paul and Art sing lovingly, tenderly and beautifully.
Most recent customer reviews
Simon & Garfunkel are terrific in this concert, my favorite concert from this wonderful duo. My kids enjoy all the songs with me. Simply awesomeg! :DPublished 7 months ago by Andrea Z M
these guys are so much better live...it's their home park and they are on their game. O to have been there.Published on March 14 2013 by pedro
The idea of a reunion might seem romantic, especially if we are talking about the best duo that pop music have ever created. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by Marco Tognato