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Reviews: Elton John: Madman across the Water

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Reviews: 9

Review by peteyspambucket November 17, 2004 (10 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A revelation. For newcomers and fans of Elton John's music, this album and the self-titled are MUST HAVES. The 5.1 mix is so amazing that it reveals and clears up lots of sections and instrumentations. The performances are still the great landmark performances that I've loved since 1973 when my brother came back from Korea with a cassette of this album. The only piece that has changed, for me, due to the remix, is INDIAN SUNSET (just before "I take only what is mine, Lord"), because there is a part where the celli and bass sound louder than the piano, whereas they were barely audible in older mixes. It changes the song at that moment for me.

The sound, the sound, the sound.... I never thought I would hear the strings this clearly. In somes songs, I could clearly tell that it is maybe two or four violins, 2 cellos, 2 violas, and 2 bass. And the old sound, would have me believe it were an entire orchestra --- "reverb" can be a wonderfully useful effect. As you may expect, Elton and his piano are anchored in the center channel, and they are both very crisp and clear. The backing vocals are often in the rear channels, as are the orchestra. The guitars, acoustic and electric, are so clear and isolated, that I am finally getting a great appreciation of the size of his band. Percussion like bongo drums, and tambourines, and synthesizer effects are clearer than ever and very realistic. The duelling banjos in HOLIDAY INN have NEVER sounded so good. I could keep going on with superlatives, but I will simply say that the sound is better than most modern rock SACDs (the Bon Jovi ones, for instance, and also 3 Doors Down). There is NO harsh tape hiss to be heard, it's just the music. The subwoofer channel is very tastefully subtle, and you will barely notice it's supportive effects (unless you turn it up!).

I've always considered this album on of Elton's first truly great albums, and this SACD has me listening to it over and over in the past week. I must have heard it 20 times already, and still counting. Someone at UNIVERSAL loves me, because with all 6 of these Elton SACDs, I will be listening and writing reviews for a while. :-) (BTW, can you just imagine what they might be able to do with The Beatles?????)

Do I have to say it? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- my first desert island SACD

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Review by Ovation December 18, 2004 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A long-time favourite of mine has been reinvigorated. Love the jam at the end of Razor Face in m/c. Took a few listens to get used to the m/c mix as this album is so familiar to me, but I'm not going back to two channel anytime soon. A must have for fans of early Elton.

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Review by Compression Must Die December 27, 2004 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The clarity of both the stereo and surround mixes are excellent. If only this were the quality of output on all rock/pop SACDs. I am only a marginal EJ fan, but the quality of this recording enticed me to purchased all of his SACD catalog.

VERY highly recomended.

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Review by SrPedro September 28, 2005 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Wow! Wow! Wow! This recording is amazing and revitalized my desire to spend my hard earned $$$ on recorded music. On the stereo presentation, Elton's vocals come out of the center like he's standing there in my living room. While the music has always been good, I mean, heck, even an MP3 of his aren't bad, this album is sonically remarkable adding presence that make it down right inspiring. If you like Elton John, have a decent HiFi, buy this one.

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Review by analogue February 25, 2009 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a clssic album by Elton in his prime from the early days. Tiny dancer is a song every rock fan knows as well as Levon. And from the moment you press play and hear the first piano keys of Tiny Dancer......and from the exact momemnt in time you hear Elton;s voice through the know this is a tremendous sacd and a special listening event. The transfer is stellar in every regard and this clearly shows what sacd is capable of.

Drums sound like real drums and all insruments sound alive. Elton;s voice was so good in the early to mid 70's.its really shocking to hear it in it's full roundness and richness. The guy could sing no question about it.

I can;t imagine anyone who loves this album and who owns it in any other medium to not like this, In fact you will love it. It's sounds warm, full, rich and very.....very real and life like. My family and friends who never heard of sacd before and had no knowledge of what it is but who love Tiny Dancer and Elton were literally blown away when they heard this. They were stunned to say the least.

I think it;'s the life like realness and the solid and rich sound that grabs the attention of the listener. Remember what I said about the piano??? Well this album has it in spades.

Also there is a song called Indian Summer that I never heard of. I was shocked to my core at how good the song is. And the sound is uncanny.

Highly recommended.

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Review by The Mule March 2, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I am not a BIG Elton John fan. However, a couple of the stations on XM radio have been playing him and I've really appreciated his music more than ever. I'm 42 and a classic rock fan at heart. Well I bought this SACD and was blown away. I only have about 20 - 25 SACD's/DVD-A's and this is my FAVORITE of all. The surround sound is just mind-blowing. So beautiful, rich sounding, plenty of instruments that stand out on their own, while Elton is jamming his a$$ off! I never realized how much of a rocker and jammin' kind of guy Elton can be. There's a few songs on here that can hang with the best rock & rollers ever. I cannot recommend this SACD more highly.

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Review by p59teitel August 24, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you're looking here then you already know that this is one of Elton's best albums so I won't bother saying any more than that about the music.

It is however an absolutely outstanding transfer that presents great detail while presenting as black a background as could be hoped for; the master tapes must have been kept in stellar condition over the years. Stereo imaging is excellent, macro and micro dynamics are both superbly rendered and so is the tonal balance. Perhaps there will be a Japanese SHM-SACD version someday that takes the crown, but this is a startling bargain at less than $20.

I can offer this SACD my highest praise: when I close my eyes my stereo disappears and I am left with only the musicians before me. Strongly recommended.

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Review by tdunster December 1, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:  
Madman Across The Water is a wonderful album and certainly one of Eltons best.
However, while this SACD version is definetly the one to own it is not perfect. Indeed, parts of Tiny Dancer, especially the vocal, can sound a little grainy.
Don't get me wrong, this is the best you will ever hear Tiny Dancer - it's just not up to the standard of the other tracks. Why ? I think Elton is too close to the mic and as a result the vocal spits - and it annoys me no end.

Worth buying ? Absolutely, it's still the best version you will ever hear and has a wonderful depth few if any CD recordings of this album can get even remotely close to.

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Review by Marpow October 1, 2014 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Madman Across The Water Hybrid SACD DSD, Super Audio CD DSD 2004
After reading all the reviews for the 5 discs released in 2004, Hybrid SACD, multichannel I purchased all via at very affordable prices, this one $17.38
This disc is the one to get if you are only going to get one. Absolutely beautiful mix especially with the string symphony instruments in multi channel, such a pleasure. A 1971 original release, Elton's 4th studio album.
Performance: Just plain great, great songs. This disc we are starting to hear more guitar solos added in.
Stereo Sonics: I briefly listened to on the home system and felt it was great. I listened to all of it in my car with factory Ford Premium Sound and was fantastic while driving.
Multi Channel Sonics: Well, this is the point, right? Absolutely great. Really good presence in all speakers and what is most important to me in multi channel is the balance. I couldn't be happier.
Packaging: Plastic jewel case with rounded corners. Great mini booklet with original lyrics and liner notes. 1995 historical liner notes by John Tobler are very good.
In the end, these 5 discs where all mixed by Greg Penny, so obviously he has his personal style which I feel is good, this disc however just stands out so well as Elton's performance is so great.

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