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The Concert in Central Park Live

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Audio CD, Live, October 25, 1990
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Product Description

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

1. Mrs. Robinson
2. Homeward Bound
3. America
4. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
5. Scarborough Fair
6. April Come She Will
7. Wake Up Little Susie
8. Still Crazy After All These Years
9. American Tune
10. Late In The Evening
11. Slip Slidin' Away
12. A Heart In New York
13. Kodachrome/Maybelline
14. Bridge Over Troubled Waters
15. Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover
16. The Boxer
17. Old Friends
18. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
19. The Sound Of Silence

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002KNI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,118 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dom Miliano VINE VOICE on September 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The sound quality for live albums is either great or awful - seldom is there middle ground. These 2 guys are such absolute perfectionists, you would guess that the sound would be excellent - and it is. But the choice of songs, the world-class back up band and the tight Simon and Garfunkel vocals are the real draw for me. I really like the fact that they don't do note-for-note copies of their album takes on these well-known songs. There are enough twists here and there to keep the songs fresh and interesting. Also, the fact that this disk perfectly captures an event that could have only happened in NYC doesn't hurt. I find it hard to believe that this all happened over 20 years ago. If you like these guys even a little bit, have a listen, you might just like what you hear.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lauren on September 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Simon and Garfunkel's `An American Tune' is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs they ever made together. Though it is not their most famous song, its meaning is timeless, and it is softly and consistently revealed as the song rolls on. The comforting sound of the guitar and their two harmonizing voices is so classic, so peaceful.

I came across their music through my parents, who were both at the Simon and Garfunkel concert in 1981 at Central Park. They introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel's music in about my tenth grade year of high school and I have been a devout fan ever since. The sound of their music, especially their live album, has always been able to transport me to another place, almost make me feel like I was there in 1963 with my parents cheering and applauding with them.

Regardless of the time it was created, anyone who has ever felt confused, made mistakes, and can accept life as it is and as it will come can relate to the song. It is a song Paul Simon wrote about the two men's journey and their career in music, but also about life in general - an understanding that everyone suffers and learns and grows at different points in time, and that in the big scheme of life, we've "lived so well for so long." It was also written in the midst of America's most historically split time period; many in the country were for Vietnam, and many, including Simon and Garfunkel, were against it. The meaning of the song also reaches a bigger picture that the twosome believes: things will get better, and this is still America, their country, regardless of the current stress of the war.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "" on July 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have mixed feelings about this recording. Certainly, the prospect of a S&G reunion in their native New York in Central Park was an exciting proposition, and they are supported by crack New York session musicians. The performances are fine, but.....something's just not right. The psuedo-jazz late seventies arrangements seem out of place in some of the S&G 60s classics, particularly the watery electric piano. Makes the performances sound the wrong era. The most enjoyable songs are the ones where the arrangements are sparsest - Scarborough Fair segues nicely into April Come She Will.
Furthermore, in ways, this is a Paul Simon concert with special guest Art Gunfunkel. There are many Paul Simon songs from his solo years up until that time. Some of the Simon's solo songs don't adopt well to suddenly becoming S&G vehicles, though Garfunkel's reading of American Tune is beautiful. Anyway, this reunion smacks a bit of opportunism on the part of Simon, but I guess he's entitled.
S&G's saga parallels that of the Beatles - they took that particular sound as far as they could, and then it was time to move on. At the time of breakup, I lamented it (I had to deal with the breakup of my two favorite groups within six months of each other). But, like the Beatles, it was the right thing to happen.
That doesn't mean there can't be "reunion" concerts or projects like this one, but it is true that you can never really "go back." I am happy that S&G reconciled sufficiently to make an event like this possible - the Beatles never did - and I am happy that it has been preserved for posterity. But, if you really want to hear what S&G were all about, you really need to hear the original recordings. This is merely a very nice gift to all their fans, and for that we should be grateful.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By erictheb on August 19, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Even with repeated listenings, I can not escape this feeling of being filled with opposing vibes, both very strong. On one side, the very idea of S&G re-forming after a decade apart (not including the brief '75 thing), in their backyard of Central Park in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans brought up strong feelings of nostalgia and joy. Their voices sound great, and in my opinion Art's angelic tones subtly steal the show. In fact, Art seems to be the class act here.
On the other end of the spectrum, a few things weigh down this disc and keep it from being a true classic; hindsight tells its own story. The set is dominated by Paul's solo material, which tells who the decision maker here is. His overly cool comments add nothing between the songs. In my opinion, Art is more like a guest here than an equal, which is a misuse of talent and chemistry.
The weakest link here is the backing band. Simon's jazzier leanings and world-music-headed arrangements change S&G's celestial folk/pop classics into Paul Simon solo material, much too airy and lacking in weight and substance. Some say the sound is a victim of its 1981 vintage but I beg to differ. Tinkly electric piano dominates the whole show, even on (wha?) Bridge Over Troubled Water! I mean, no real piano could be brought in? Sorry, can't play that.
In retrospect, it's easy to see it all as a marketing ploy for Paul who at the time needed a jolt to his career. The reunion album never came to pass....Maybe Art wanted a real piano? In summary, pleasant but not essential or classic.
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