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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Pop > America – Live At Central Park 1979 (Eagle Vision DVD-Video Version)

America – Live At Central Park 1979 (Eagle Vision DVD-Video Version)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Concert: B



In the 1960s and 1970s, music trios had an underrated run of hits, popularity and success.  Some are kitschy by today’s standards, like Tony Orlando & Dawn, but even they produced competent hit singles that are sounding better every day, especially of late.  By the early 1970s, two in particular were inarguably on a roll and created strings of classics that endure decades later.  One is Three Dog Night, with its unbelievable run of standards like One, Shambala, Mama Told Me (Not To Come) and Easy To Be Hard from the stage musical classic Hair.  The other is America.


Formed a year later (1969, versus Dog’s 1968,) the band had the same combination knack for great material, great vocals, honest phrasing and chemistry that fit the counterculture movement right on.  From 1972 to 1976, they had one of the strongest run of hit albums and singles including no less than George Martin producing some of the most iconic of 1970s songs.  Martin was still working with them when member Dan Peek left and by 1978, Martin followed.  Still, they continued as a duo and their 1979 Central Park concert shows the energy and talent that made them a success was still very much intact.


America – Live At Central Park 1979 hits DVD for the second time after Capitol Records issued it 2005.  Now, the rights have switched to Eagle Visions Classics and after watching it, you will see why it was a key title that was not going to stay out of print for long.  The songs here include:


1)     Tin Man

2)     Only Game In Town

3)     I Need You

4)     Foolin’

5)     Ventura Highway

6)     California Dreamin’

7)     Another Try

8)     A Horse With No Name

9)     All Night

10)  Here

11)  Hollywood

12)  Sandman

13)  Sister Golden Hair



That includes their biggest hits and in delivering them to the huge New York crowd, the songs sound as good here as you have ever heard them and you would never know that in a few years, they would revert to the flatter pop of You Can Do Magic.  I will always say Peek made a mistake, but he followed his religious calling and that was it.  Director Peter Clifton delivers the moments and intercuts them with both behind-the-scenes footage and footage from California and the desert.  If only most concerts we get now were this creative and not so phony.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a nice HD transfer of the original 16mm film elements and has more than a few moments of blowing away the many HD-shot concerts in the last few years.  That it is a great outdoor venue that takes well to film only helps.  Shots and editing are creative and this is color consistent.  The DTS 5.1 mix here is the best of the choices that include lesser Dolby Digital 5.1 and decent PCM 2.0 16/48 Stereo sound.  The combination is engaging throughout.


As compared to Capitol Records DVD release that offered the same image type (likely the same master) and three soundtrack choices as is here.  The picture framing is different a bit and in some ways, a little sliver may be missing here versus the Capitol version, but neither are superior, though I hope Eagle makes this a Blu-ray ASAP.  As for the sound, the DTS on the Eagle version has some more detail and fullness than the Capitol version, so it makes this a slight upgrade from that first release.


Both also have the same extra of Clifton’s fine audio commentary track.  Grab any copy you can, but if you get the new in-print Eagle version, you’ll like the sound a bit better.  Not that it makes it the DVD-Audio high-definition MLP tracks of the  Homecoming (going for very high prices) album, but it can easily compete with the disappointing live SACD we have reviewed and know more gems like this are in vaults somewhere.  Hope this disc brings about their release too.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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