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Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fair document of the old days, 28 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: Jethro Tull - Live At Madison Square Garden (DVD + CD) [2009] [NTSC] (DVD)
Focusing on the CD: interesting to compare this 78 minute disc with the original Bursting Out, not least because it's the only Tull album not produced by Ian Anderson (Broadsword was mostly his work, in the end, despite being credited to Samwell-Smith). So, the keyboards are generally higher in the mix, and it's easier to hear what John Evans is up to. Rougher round the edges, perhaps, but usually the better for it.

The 2 min instrumental introduction is a welcome extra, with some King Henry's Madrigal-like keyboards, before Sweet Dream kicks off the show. Pity the flute is missing from this version ... perhaps IA decided to save the first puff for Brick later on, when the cameras were rolling. One Brown Mouse is pleasant, as usual, if nothing special.

Heavy Horses: great pity this was missing from Bursting Out, and good to have a '78 version here. It's at this point, though, that one misses the incomparable precision and energy of John Glascock on bass ... can't help feeling this is his song, somehow.

Similarly, if you've seen Glascock playing Thick As A Brick on the 1977 BBC show, you'll know what he brought to that song on stage, but still, this is without doubt the highlight of the CD (and the DVD). The growl and grit of Evans' Hammond organ is more audible here than on B-Out, with Barre at his best, and overall a more punchy and natural mix.

No Lullaby + flute solo + instrumentals: rather an odd choice for the broadcast section, I've always thought, and not the best use of the limited time. Perhaps IA wanted to showcase his trademark huff & puff solo, but if I never hear one of these again I really wouldn't mind ... they're quite tedious after a while. The instrumentals: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is where Tony Williams comes unstuck on bass, hitting the odd bum note, wandering about a bit, and then the instrumental which ended up on the song Kelpie ... which is a rather simplistic and repetitive jig. So, after all that sniff and snort and sundry folderol, plus a minute of Pibroch keyboard music prior to Songs From the Wood (a nice extra though that is) a full 10 minutes have gone by. Would have been nice to see Hunting Girl and Jack-in-the-Green in that lot, or a filmed Heavy Horses perhaps: decent dramatic songs which would have 'sold' the recent albums better, and which feature better musicianship.

Songs From the Wood, and then it's the famous Aqualung, which seems to go awry here and there; perhaps not as tight as B-Out. Locomotive Breath: well, those who miss Evans' piano will be grateful for another good recording of that great introduction, and the piano is up in the mix throughout, minor warts and all. Another highlight of the show.

An uncredited (and un-indexed) instrumental follows the Dambusters finale: would have been nice to have this as a separate track. Mind you, it's not a particularly memorable piece, slightly reminiscent of the later Seal Driver in places: Martin solos for a while, as does Barrie Barlow on drums. Again, an odd choice for what was a relatively short concert -- this instrumental clocks in at over 7 minutes.

Too Old to Rock `n' Roll is one of those songs I'd be happy never to hear again, but this is a lively enough version of it. And a final treat: the opening 3 minutes of My God (Evans to the fore again), followed by Cross-eyed Mary. If only this had been included on the film and not the bloody flute solo malarkey!

All in all a rather odd sequence of tracks, determined by some extent by the live broadcast element. Not perhaps the best gig of that tour, but a great visual document for the fans who weren't there. Just a shame John Glascock wasn't on stage with the rest of them ... for me, it takes away some vital piece of magic, both visually and musically.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Oct 2009 13:49:47 BDT
herb says:
Thank you for being so insightful to recognize the greatness of JOHN GLASCOCK as this is the only downside about this release. Maybe the Hippodrome footage will be made available one day? Unlikely but, can hope :). Glascock was one of the greatest bassists of that era and without a doubt the finest TULL ever had. His work with CARMEN is immense.
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