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Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park

4.6 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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(Aug 19, 2003)
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$47.98 $11.99

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Editorial Reviews

What started as a suggestion for Paul Simon to play a concert in New York's Central Park blossomed, on September 19, 1981, as a full-blown Simon and Garfunkel reunion after an 11-year hiatus, and now proves a priceless snapshot of two of America's greatest folk-rock performers. (It's also the rightful bookend to Simon and Garfunkel's acoustic Live from New York City, 1967.)

Performed with a who's-who of East Coast session aces before a record-setting crowd of half a million fans, The Concert in Central Park finds its stars just shy of their 40th birthdays and very much in their primes, their voices sweet and pure and their playing relaxed, perfectly in tune and in synch. The show features a mix of S&G and solo Simon tunes, including all the songs that appear on the CD, with the addition of a reprise of "Late in the Evening" and the first live performance of Simon's "The Late Great Johnny Ace." This is classic material from start to finish, 87 minutes of unmitigated beauty. --Michael Mikesell

Songs: Mrs. Robinson, Homeward Bound, America, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Scarborough Fair, April Come She Will, Wake Up Little Susie, Still Crazy After All These Years, American Tune, Late in the Evening, Slip Sliding Away, A Heart in New York, Kodachrome, Maybellene, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, The Boxer, Old Friends/Bookends, Feelin' Groovy, The Sound of Silence, Late in the Evening (reprise)

Special Features

  • Songs: Mrs. Robinson, Homeward Bound, America, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Scarborough Fair, April Come She Will, Wake Up Little Susie, Still Crazy After All These Years, American Tune, Late in the Evening, Slip Sliding Away, A Heart in New York, Kodachrome, Maybellene, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, The Boxer, Old Friends/Bookends, Feelin' Groovy, The Sound of Silence, Late in the Evening (reprise)

Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, David Brown, Pete Carr, John Eckert
  • Directors: Louis J. Horvitz, Michael Lindsay-Hogg
  • Producers: Chuck LaBella, Dan Klores, Danny Harrison, Ian Hoblyn, James Signorelli
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLEM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,446 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on February 15, 2004
Format: DVD
I was happy to see Simon and Garfunkel in concert on their recent "Old Friends" tour, and was more than pleased by the performance of two men who, by all rights, should've been retired and not in the best of vocal form. The afterglow of the Philadelphia show led me to acquire this DVD from the 1981 Central Park reunion show. Since most of the songs from the current tour are reflected by the Central Park set list, it was worth it for me.

This DVD is actually better than I originally remember from watching it on TV. 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 musical flub from the disc is "The Late Great Johnny Ace." It was Simon's tribute to John Lennon and is when a fan charges the stage, distracting Simon from the microphone. Art Garfunkel 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.

On the other hand, when Art begins to sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," it's hard not to notice that he can still sound like the folk singing choirboy of the sixties, and even more so for "The Sound of Silence.
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Format: DVD
Is there anyone who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s that isn't familiar with the terrific music of Simon and Garfunkel??

Well, this DVD of their 1981 reunion concert before 500,000 people in New York's Central Park brings back lots of fond memories, laced as it with nice renditions of classics like "Mrs. Robinson", "Scarborough Fair", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "The Boxer" and "The Sound of Silence".

Backed by a band of stellar musicians that included Richard Tee on piano and Steve Gadd on drums, the duo also run through some of their solo hits, like Simon's "Kodachrome".

Did I say the concert is terrfic?? Sure it is, but the DVD is truly horrible. The video looks only a little better than its VHS origins, and couldn't the music company have popped up the money for upgrading the plain Dolby Digital 2.0 track to a full-fledged surround track?? That would have made this a truly great package.

Even with these drawbacks, this is a must buy for S&G fans, as well as those seeking a DVD to acquaint themselves with the music of S&G.
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A Simon & Garfunkel fan since 1965, I was thrilled to see this concert on HBO back in '81. Everyone who has reviewed it has said the music was fantastic, and it was. It was a reunion concert that left the audience completely satisfied. My reason for writing this review is really to comment on S & G's actions towards each other. They never spent much time looking at each other in ANY concert that I ever saw, so I didn't expect them to do so in Central Park. Some other reviewers have mentioned that, and stated, essentially, that they let petty bitterness show through. I never had that impression at any point. Several smiles were exchanged between them, as well as some of what I presumed to have been friendly comments between songs. During The Boxer, Art Garfunkel put his arm around Paul's shoulders a couple times...and let's not forget the easy way they each slung an arm around the other at the end of the show. I think they were, and are, true professionals who have more class than to display personal problems to their audience(s).
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I can't say enough good things about the concert and the performance. The music is wonderful and the duo sounds great together. The harmonies are lovely.
The 4 stars (rather than 5) is primarily for what the DVD lacks -- there are no extra features, and the instrumental solos seem very muted as compared to the vocals.
But the person who said that "The Late Great Johnny Ace" was cut must have gone off to the bathroom for a bit -- it's definitely there. It's true that the song title is not on the liner notes -- which is, perhaps, suggestive of how much care went into this DVD -- but the full song, complete with the fan coming up on stage while Paul Simon is singing, is there.
I hope they come out with a special edition of this DVD with improved sound mixing, better chapter selection (as others have noted, it's annoying to have two songs grouped into a chapter -- it should be one song, one chapter), accurate liner notes, and extra features (perhaps some commentary).
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And the vision planted in my brain, still remains! I only dropped a 5-spot for this grand concert in Central Park (at Target even)? WHAT A FRIGGIN' DEAL - I have already watched it 7 or 8 times and I'm just getting started (how much was a ticket to this event?). Many of these songs evoke memories of The Graduate of course (that's cool, great movie), but to people who were children when these albums first came out in the 60's, WHAT A NOSTALGIA TRIP! Planted in my brain, still remains...I'll say! No one dares disturb the sounds of silence when the classics are lovingly presented by these two brilliant musicians (obviously this song, in the encore, had a huge imact). Special mention should be made of Steve Gadd on drums and the many excellent lesser known pros filling out the show (Nice electric guitar work, etc.), the presentation and production are first rate. Highlights: Homeward Bound, America, Scarborough Fair, April Come She Will...just beautiful, Bridge Over Troubled Water...unreal, 50 ways to Leave Your Lover...sharp, The Boxer...a true highlight - I can listen to it endlessly. Encores: The Sound of Silence (the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls...people hearing, but not listening?)...The fans are transfixed by this gorgeous song. Then the lighthearted Late in the Evening...what a great night in Central Park and gift to the many, many fans. Yes this concert, though a little short at 88 minutes, is a delight to say the least. I should take up Karaoke just to sing songs like this and develop the heavenly harmonies that flow like water here. This is really fun to sing, drum and play guitar with if you are so inclined. A bridge over troubled water? The waters part for this and no bridge is needed. Enjoy this rare event!
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