The Concert in Central Park

At this point, I hope you have one concert in mind when I say that. Simon & Garfunkle live in Central Park. I know that everyone and their mother has played Central Park. I know it is like a Red Rocks of the East coast. However, when I say 'the Concert in Central Park', to me it is implied that we are talking about Simon & Garfunkle.

I wanted to point out a couple of concerns I have about how the show was released. As you know, it is on DVD and CD. Did you know the audio show differs from the CD? Yeah, stuff was cut. I could see why you needed to do that back in 1980 when the show was performed... but we have the technology now to release the whole show. What follows is what was cut, and why I am passionate about it.

Firstly, I would like to say that I hold Paul Simon in the same class as Paul McCartney. I hold Paul McCartney the best and most influential songwriter in all of rock. Musically, Paul Simon is a god. That being said, that evening he did a song called 'Johnny Ace', which was about John Lennon's very recent murder. It is a stunning number, absolutely beautiful... and it was cut out of the CD and DVD release. It could be becaue the performance wasn't flawless. Some crazy got on stage during the song and started screaming about John Lennon. Perhaps that is why it is edited out. They left it in the original VHS release. I think it is a cool and genuine moment... the kinda stuff that makes live music so important. I would like that song back.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found the clip that was so egregious it was eliminated from history.  The moment happens at 3:21.  The lyric mentions John Lennon, and some dude runs and stage and tries to attack Simon.  To be fair, this was only a year after Lennon was killed.  Simon had never played this song before.  Probably hasn't played it since.

Here, then, is the second part... and this would seem minor. There is a moment in-between songs when Artie asks the crowd 'Are you cold?' They responded joyfully, but they were indeed totally freezing. Artie responded back 'well, you look beautiful to me'. It is a great, simple, and touching honest moment. To me, it sets the tone of the whole show and the relationship between the band and the fans on this night. They cut this out of the audio release. I think they also cut out Paul's comment about selling 'loose joints' too. I can't be sure, because now the show is on my iPod... so I don't listen to it in sequence much.

Atlantic records tried similar silliness with Led Zeppelin on Physical Graffitti. They were soundly and roundly defeated, and released the CD with the original audio tracks from the vinyl. I ask Sony do to the same. I would actally re-buy the same disc if I could get it with the ommitted tracks. Also, a re-master wouldn't hurt. I guess they didn't have treble in 1980.

In the meantime, I encourage you to buy the DVD instead of the CD. Peace!


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