Picks and Pans Review: The Concert in Central Park

UPDATED 04/12/1982 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/12/1982 at 01:00 AM EST

Simon and Garfunkel

In their blissfully tender April Come She Will, S&G sing, "A love once new has now grown old." Thanks to their September 1981 concert, a cable TV spin-off and this extraordinary double album (19 titles), an old love of pop music fanciers has come alive again. Most songs are 1966-70 evergreens: Mrs. Robinson, Scarborough Fair, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound, The Boxer. The voices sound as feathery, emotional and tight in harmony as ever. The backing is solid, and the arrangements, happily, do not merely duplicate recorded versions but add a vigorous live dimension. There are several songs from Simon's solo LPs—Kodachrome, Late in the Evening, Still Crazy After All These Years, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard as well as A Heart in New York, which was done on a recent Garfunkel album. The most affecting moments, though, are echoes of the past, as in an acoustic guitar duet on the concert finale, Sounds of Silence. It is perhaps their most eloquent work. In the late '60s, while the Doors were deliriously adrift and Hendrix was mangling the national anthem, S&G cut through to the cultural alienation more cleanly than either. Facing 500,000 old and new fans on a Central Park lawn, the duo again found that part of America for which their music remains an inextinguishable joy.

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