The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
Side Four: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of S&G's live reunion concert with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all FOUR sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- This copy is clean, clear, open and spacious with lovely breathy vocals and plenty of Tubey Magic (particular on sides one, two, and four)
- Sides one, two, and four are richer, smoother yet still very clear and highly resolving in precisely the way so few pressings are, and side three is not far behind in all those areas
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these vintage LPs - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 4 1/2 stars: "This two-record set presents some of the duo's biggest hits in a live context, and also allows listeners a chance to hear what many Simon solo numbers could sound like in S&G mode."
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*NOTE: There are scattered marks that play lightly for approx. the first 45 seconds of the last track on side 3, "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
These vintage Warner Bros. pressings have the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, these are the records for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of The Concert in Central Park Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1982
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing these records are the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find pressings that sound as good as these two do.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are sonic qualities by which a record -- any record -- should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.
Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.
Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.
It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For On The Concert in Central Park
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Roy Halee in this case -- would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Mrs. Robinson
- Homeward Bound
- 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 Slidin' Away
- A Heart In New York
- Kodachrome / Mabellene
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover
- The Boxer
- Old Friends
- The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
- The Sounds Of Silence
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Simon & Garfunkel reunited on September 19, 1981, to perform a free concert in Central Park, New York City. This two-record set presents some of the duo's biggest hits in a live context, and also allows listeners a chance to hear what many Simon solo numbers could sound like in S&G mode.
The Concert in Central Park
The Concert in Central Park is the first live album by American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on February 16, 1982, by Warner Bros. Records. It was recorded on September 19, 1981, at a free benefit concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City, where the pair performed in front of 500,000 people. A film of the event was shown on TV and released on video. Proceeds went toward the redevelopment and maintenance of the park, which had deteriorated due to lack of municipal funding. The concert and album marked the start of a three-year reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
The concept of a benefit concert in Central Park had been proposed by Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis and promoter Ron Delsener. Television channel HBO agreed to carry the concert, and they worked with Delsener to decide on Simon and Garfunkel as the appropriate act for this event. Besides hit songs from their years as a duo, their set list included material from their solo careers, and covers. The show consisted of 21 songs, though two were not used in the live album; among the songs performed were "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson", and "The Boxer"; the event concluded with a reprise of Simon's song "Late in the Evening". Ongoing personal tensions between the duo led them to decide against a permanent reunion, despite the success of the concert and a subsequent world tour.
The album and film were released the year after the concert. Simon and Garfunkel's performance was praised by music critics and the album was commercially successful; it peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 album charts and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The video recordings were initially broadcast on HBO and were subsequently made available on Laserdisc, CED, VHS and DVD. A single was released of Simon and Garfunkel‘s live performance of The Everly Brothers‘s song "Wake Up Little Susie", which reached No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982; it is the duo's last Top 40 hit.