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Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert In Central Park


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#1 of 36 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted August 08 2003 - 06:02 AM

I don't know how I missed this one...

Posted Image
Aug. 19, 2003

It was inevitable - PBS has been playing this a lot this year. The disappointment in the broadcast was the dropping of Simon's 'new' song The Late Great Johnny Ace, notable for a fan rushing on stage during a verse about the death of John Lennon screaming, "I've got to talk to you! I've got to talk to you!", and a stunned Simon manages to continue. I don't know if this song is also missing from the new DVD, but does still exist on Fox's old VHS and LD editions.

A great event nonetheless.
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#2 of 36 OFFLINE   Bob Graham

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Posted August 09 2003 - 01:14 AM

Just for the sake of completeness and full disclosure, "The Late Great Johnny Ace" is also on the old CBSFOX CED.

#3 of 36 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted August 09 2003 - 02:30 AM

Specs please!
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#4 of 36 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted August 09 2003 - 03:39 AM

Songs are listed as follows:

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. Medley: Kodachrome / Maybelline
14. Bridge Over Troubled Water
15. Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover
16. The Boxer
17. Old Friends/Bookends
18. The 59th Street Bridge Song
19. The Sounds Of Silence
20. Late in the Evening (reprise)


No mention of audio specs, so expect this to likely be DD 2.0.

Too bad about the loss of The Late Great Johnny Ace, but this is not unexpected, as I said, since PBS has been airing it frequently this way. Hold on your your originals...
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#5 of 36 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 09 2003 - 04:56 AM

With the exclusion of Late Great Johnny Ace, I guess I'll have to pass on this.

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#6 of 36 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

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Posted August 09 2003 - 07:45 AM

Good thing this was performed on a warm summer night. The two singers would have frozen otherwise. They barely look at one another.

#7 of 36 OFFLINE   Randy A Salas

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Posted August 09 2003 - 10:55 AM

The DVD is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, full-screen, no extras. The concert duration is 87 minutes.
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#8 of 36 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted August 10 2003 - 01:46 PM

Was this ever issued on CED from CBS/FOX? The one I have is on MGM, though I have it on VHS from Fox.
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#9 of 36 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 11 2003 - 12:39 AM

Quote:
DVD is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Ugh. I won't even bother. Practically the worst-souding audio option available on DVD and this is what we get. Probably mastered at 192 kbps!

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#10 of 36 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted August 11 2003 - 01:25 AM

I'll be passing as well, as I have the laser. With the loss of "Late Great Johnny Ace" (a GREAT song) and only DD 2.0 sound, there's simply no reason to upgrade.

Edit: OK, I THOUGHT I had the laser. I've got the 1991 Paul Simon Central Park concert. Now I can't even find my copy of the S&G VHS. AUGHHHH!

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#11 of 36 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:15 AM

If you like Simon and Garfunkel, then get this disc - it is a lot better than some of the detractors on this thread have made it sound. Yes, it's 'only' stereo, but that was how it was originally mixed.

Having said that, there are a couple of gripes. First, what's on the DVD ain't the whole concert, if memory serves me correctly. I believe there were a couple of other numbers. Also, I suspect that the piano introduction to Bridge Over Troubled Water is truncated (certainly when S&G played Wembley Stadium the following year, the piano intro was several minutes long). I think that what we have on DVD is (with the exception of the omission of Johnny Ace, which I personally thought one of PS's weaker songs on Hearts and Bones) all that could be fitted on a vinyl double album (which of course has been available for the last twenty years or so).


Quote:
Good thing this was performed on a warm summer night. The two singers would have frozen otherwise. They barely look at one another.


That's how they always appeared on stage! A great musician and a great singer, but neither had exactly a large amount of stage presence. I'm told by those lucky enough to see them in the early days that they came alive in small venues, but Central Park isn't exactly a small venue.

#12 of 36 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:40 AM

Quote:
If you like Simon and Garfunkel, then get this disc - it is a lot better
than some of the detractors on this thread have made it sound. Yes, it's
'only' stereo, but that was how it was originally mixed.

Who's criticizing stereo? I'm critizing using Dolby Digital compression to pander what could have been a glorious 2.0 PCM track into a low-fi 2.0 DD soundtrack at only 192 kbps. I've heard enough LD-CD-DVD comparisons to testify that at this low bit-rate, 2.0 DD sounds *very* inferior to PCM and should not be considered a "hi fidelity" soundtrack worthy of a music-oriented title.
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#13 of 36 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:45 AM

Why not use PCM instead of Dolby 2.0?

#14 of 36 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:56 AM

If the disc is starved for space, Dolby Digital take up about 1/20th of the room of a PCM when encoded at the 192 rate.

But in most cases, like here, where there's plenty of space...it's usually just because the disc producers don't have a clue...and assume that dolby digital is some "special feature" or logo that looks neat. Sometimes it's because the equipment is set up for DD mastering and they don't understand that unnecessary audio compression can hurt sound quality so they just leave everything set up like usual. 5.1 DD usually isn't as bad because at the 384 or 448 kbps it sounds decent enough even with 5.1 channels that it's not objectively bad (DD share's bits among channels so in a 5.1 mix bits get shifted around where they are needed most...which usually ends up in the front L/R channels of a 5.1 music mix). 2.0 at 192 sounds *objectively* inferior to my ear even without the PCM to directly compare.


Emmy Lou Harris' Spyboy is another example of a 2.0 DD music-DVD horror.

Some disc producers know what they're doing...and some would say things that would just *scare* you.

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#15 of 36 OFFLINE   Gary->dee

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:59 AM

I've enjoyed watching PBS play this amazing concert so I'll definitely be picking this up. It's too bad about the Johnny Ace song not being included but as long as "April Come She Will" is still there I'm happy. Posted Image

#16 of 36 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted August 11 2003 - 08:12 AM

If you want it in PCM with wretched video quality there's a legit R0 Korean release

#17 of 36 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted August 11 2003 - 08:48 AM

Yes, it's 'only' stereo, but that was how it was originally mixed.


I believe there were a couple of other numbers.


If Warner Brothers/Paul Simon/Phil Ramone/Lorne Michaels (Broadway Video) still had the original multitrack tapes and raw video footage this could have been given a remix and possible extension.
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#18 of 36 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:39 PM

Quote:
I'm critizing using Dolby Digital compression to pander what could have been a glorious 2.0 PCM track


David, apologies - quite right, it could have been better done. However, having said that, the sound ain't bad.

Incidentally, there seems to be some confusion about The Late Great Johnny Ace. It *IS* on the disc (or at least my R1 copy of it - hey, have I got a collectable item? Posted Image), with the guy rushing on stage included (his remarks are even helpfully included on the subtitles).

BTW, can someone please explain to a dumb Brit what a Mrs Wagner pie is? I know that 'Mrs Wagner' is a brand name, but is there any added cultural significance?

#19 of 36 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted August 12 2003 - 01:23 AM

Andrew:

Mrs. Wagner started making her pies in New Jersey in the 1950's or '60s, and they were well-known in that area going into the late '60s and early '70s. At some point in the late '60s, the business was sold, and, if I recall correctly, the pies were mass-marketed for quite a few years.

Suffice it to say that if you grew up in New York/New Jersey in the early '70s, as I did, you knew what a Mrs. Wagner pie tasted like. I remember them as small fruit pies, the size of a large tart, packaged in a small tin inside of a red and white cardboard box. They were cheap (25 cents, maybe 35 cents) and delicious, and far better than the pre-packaged snack cakes of today.

I recall them being available into the late '70s or perhaps early '80s, and then they were gone... Posted Image

That's about as culturally-significant as I can make it. Everytime I hear "America," my favorite S&G tune, it takes me right back to my grandfather, sitting at his kitchen table, eating one of those little pies.

Now, if you can educate me as to the joys (?) of Branston pickle, I'd be much obliged. I consider myself fairly adventurous when it comes to sampling the foods of other lands, but I just couldn't bear this stuff when I recently tried it with some Welsh rarebit (at Tea & Sympathy, in NYC).


#20 of 36 OFFLINE   Steven_M Grimes

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Posted August 12 2003 - 02:28 AM

Quote:
I've heard enough LD-CD-DVD comparisons to testify that at this low bit-rate, 2.0 DD sounds *very* inferior to PCM and should not be considered a "hi fidelity" soundtrack worthy of a music-oriented title.


I just want to chime in here to note that the Digital PCM track on my LD of this concert is truly incredible--it's much more dynamic and has more warmth than the CD. I won't be upgrading to the 2.0 DD DVD.


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