Simon & Garfunkel-Concert in Central Park (2003)

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Released 19-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 86:34
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Paul Simon
Art Garfunkel
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Paul Simon
Art Garfunkel


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Simon & Garfunkel were truly a class act. If you needed any proof, then The Concert In Central Park provides ample evidence. I can vividly remember watching this concert when it was broadcast in the UK back in 1981, and it came as something of a shock to realise that twenty-two years have since passed. One of the blessings of DVD is that events such as this memorable concert are being captured and preserved for posterity - and are available for fans to watch repeatedly without fear of decaying quality.

    Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had a fairly troubled relationship - I believe egos were involved somewhere in the mix - and they produced surprisingly few original albums (only four if I recall correctly), considering their immense reputation and the longevity of their work. Paul Simon has, of course, enjoyed massive success as a solo artist since the duo split up in 1970 (not least with the utterly classic Graceland album). Art Garfunkel appeared in a couple of films (Carnal Knowledge, Boxing Helena) and had a few hits of his own (Bright Eyes anyone?). Nobody could disagree that despite their solo careers, they are both at their very best complementing each other perfectly when performing their wonderfully melodic harmonies.

    So, after leading their separate careers for a decade, in September 1981 the duo joined forces for a twilight reunion concert in the open air - as a one off, free special for their fans. New York's Central Park played host to over 100,000 avid fans - of all ages - as the duo worked their old magic, revisiting over twenty of their classic songs. This DVD provides the opportunity to enjoy what was truly a classic concert time and again. Fans can rejoice not only at the DVD, but at the fact that the two are touring once again with the "Old Friends" tour - forty (yes, you read right) years after they started performing together. I can only hope that they decide to head across to Australia - I'll be in the queue for tickets, I can assure you!

    If you are a fan of the music, this is a great reminder of a really memorable concert. if you don't like the music these two produce, then this DVD will not turn you into a fan. Highly recommended for fans of Simon & Garfunkel.

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Track Listing

1. Mrs. Robinson
2. Homeward Bound
3. America
4. Me & 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. The Late Great Johnny Ace
14. Kodachrome / Maybellene
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
17. The Boxer
18. Old Friends
19. Bookends
20. The 59th Street Bridge Song
21. The Sound Of Silence
22. Late In The Evening

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is fairly mediocre - but is by no means unwatchable. It is at least as good as a VHS copy and you don't need to rewind back to your favourite track! In mitigation for the video quality, we should remember that this concert was filmed for television and is twenty-two years old.

    The footage is presented full frame at 1.33:1 which is the original televised aspect ratio. It is not therefore 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is on the wrong side of sharp. There is very little detail evident in even medium shots, and it is only in close-ups where the image is truly satisfactory. I am prepared to forgive this, given the age of the feature, and it is by no means terrible - just a little too blurry to be considered good. Shadow detail is acceptable and blacks are usually solid, although as dusk sets in there is evidence of low-level noise in the darkening sky. Colour fidelity seems reasonable and although bright red jackets in the audience are vivid, they do suffer from colour bleeding. Paul Simon's T-shirt seems to change colour between white and pink on occasion, but some blame must surely lie at the feet of variable coloured stage lighting.

    The transfer does suffer from some compression artefacts, with some evidence of slight smearing and pixelization cropping up from time to time - particularly during panning shots of the crowd. Film-to-video artefacts appear most notably in the form of edge enhancement, which can be fairly noticeable on a larger screen (for example on the water tower at 2:30, the cranes at 8:23, or Simon's jacket at 21:11 and again at 60:00). The image seems to improve as night falls, and the distraction of blocky crowds and backing musicians recede into the darkness. On a smaller set (68cm) this is not a problem, and even on a larger screen it is not majorly distracting. Aliasing was never a concern on my system, although there can be a mild shimmer in the image on a few occasions.

    Film artefacts are mercifully very rare indeed. I must admit to being a little surprised that, after twenty-two years, the footage was as clean as it is.

    There are no subtitles available on the disc.

    This is a single-sided single-layered disc (DVD 5) and does not have a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is pretty good - and I doubt that it will ever sound better.

    The audio menu allows you to select either a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 kbps or an LPCM Stereo track encoded at 1536 kbps. The surround track is very much my preferred option, but the stereo track sounds perfectly fine too. The former track is warmer and more rounded, and I personally enjoy the cheering of the crowds coming from the surround speakers, rather than the front stage. The LPCM track is perfectly serviceable, and the vocals are possibly a little clearer, but the bass is not as satisfying. For those without surround capability, you will still get much enjoyment from what is a solid, clean stereo transfer.

    The sound is generally very clear with very little hiss or distortion present. There are no audio drop-outs and feedback never really crops up. Audio sync was fine for the duration.

    The audio is at least as good as a decent CD, and any limitations are generally associated with the live recording rather than the transfer. The front speakers anchor the vocals in the front soundstage and deliver the wonderful harmonies nicely at all times. Whilst the surrounds are used throughout, they are generally most noticeable when the crowd springs to life. Musically, they tend to carry percussion and backing music, with Simon's guitar where it should be - at the front. The subwoofer does carry a signal, but the duo are not exactly renowned for a bass-heavy vibe. Subwoofer use is generally limited to kick-drum and bass guitar sounds, and it is never particularly noteworthy. It probably gets to contribute most during Kodachrome/Maybellene where the tempo picks up and the sound is at its most rocky.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc:

Menu

    The menu is a static and silent photograph of the crowd in central park. It allows the selection of audio track, playing the concert in full, or selecting one of twenty-one chapter stops (despite there being twenty-two songs).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this concert is inferior to the Region 4 release, missing out on the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio transfer and possessing only fourteen chapter stops. This means that some songs cannot be individually selected - unlike the Region 4 release where only Kodachrome and Maybelline share a chapter stop - and they are present in the concert as a medley. The Region 4 release is easily the preferred version.

Summary

    Simon & Garfunkel - The Concert In Central Park is a must-have for fans of the duo. The audio is of reasonable quality and the 5.1 mix, whilst not outstanding, does provide much more of a feeling of "being there". The video transfer is of somewhat limited quality, but is by no means awful - just accept that it is twenty-two years old, made for television and filmed in a park! Highly recommended for fans.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is rather good for an outdoor concert nearly a quarter of a century old.

    There are no extra features present.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Monday, December 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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