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on 3 December 2012
Theres been enough said about this masterpiece of shaggy dogism, already, but this Special Edition has polished up the old dog until its better than new.

The remastering has given the album an almost 3D depth and clarity. The interplay between the keyboards and guitar is really showcased, now and you can even hear the odd interjection of violin and sax, which were only there, originally, in the liner notes as far as I could tell. The drumming is (as John Bonham described it) musical geometry and the whole thing is powered by manic energy and a pythonesque silliness that was obvious even in 1972, when those too dumb to get the jokes, wrote the whole thing off as pretentious.

Apparently there are some audio blips or glitches, somewhere, but Ill be buggered if I could hear them.

A magic album made magicker ...
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on 5 November 2012
Firstly let me say that I'm not going to review the music - this is a Tull classic, and I'm assuming anyone who has come to this page knows it well enough (if not, just buy this anyway). Instead I want to talk about the package itself, here released in a "40th Anniversary" edition.

I have bought Thick as a Brick many times - on vinyl, Mini LP, several CD versions etc. I hesitated to buy it again, but boy am I glad I pre-ordered this. The music comes in a hard cover book format (roughly the size of a paperback book). The newspaper from the original vinyl release is reproduced in a large format (so it's readable!) In this format the newspaper is 40 pages long (that's a page for every year of release). They used the original textured paper for this section, which is a nice addition.

Next up is the "Colour Supplement". This is printed on high-quality glossy paper stock, and is full of pictures I've certainly never seen before. It has various sections including: 11 page article by Dom Lawson; 6 page article with Robin Black (producer); 6 page article with Eric Brooks (tour manager); 8 page interview with Ian Anderson, Jeffrey Hammond, and Martin Barre from 1997; 18 page section of pictures "On Tour", and the lyrics in Italian and German (no English though).

There are two discs - the first is the newly remixed version in stereo. Then we have a DVD that includes a 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital Surround mix. Also we get the new stereo mix in 96/24 PCM, along with the original 1972 stereo mix also in 96/24 PCM. As a bonus (!) we get a 1972 radio ad.

Steve Wilson - who did a fantastic job of Aqualung recently - is back to do this new remix. The quality is just - well the only word I can think of is "obscene". Someone pay this guy to revisit the entire Tull catalog. I'd gladly buy every one all over again.

My final thought here is this release is such a credit to all involved. Talk about being put together with love, care, and attention. This is worth ten stars, let alone five. I expected a lot, and got even more. What a release. Thanks to all that had a hand in putting this out. Fantastic!
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on 6 November 2012
I remember in the 70's when Tull vinyl albums came out that they were lambasted for such dull, " recorded through a door" production. I've bought all the remasters upto A and enjoyed their new lease of life.Last year I bought a mega Aqualung package, Steven " Mr. 5.1 " Wilson's remix of Aqualung,was amazing, but this is the biz. Barriemore Barlow's drums and cymbals exist, the harpsicord and piano of John Evan are bright, the acoustic guitars rip out of the speakers and even the strange vocals about "Oh Fluffy Duck" are clear. Just listen as Barlow's hi-hat flutter travels all around your room!
It's a great presentation: the newspaper, the colour supplement with the inclusion of a Nick Begg's Cartoon of SW at work.
Excellent - could we please have a 5.1 version of Benefit and Songs From The Wood now Mr Anderson?
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on 12 December 2012
OK where to start, I hated Jethro Tull, some of my mates kept raving about it and I just didn't get it. One of my friends big brothers had the original vinyl release, with the newspaper. So I started reading the newspaper one day. Eventually I started listening to the album...then I got to see Tull live (twice...that's a lot down here in South Africa, as everyone seems to come here once). So this was may way into Tull.

I had the cd , but it's not the same is it, I mean the cover is tiny, the detail is lost. Then someone comes up with this idea, and Steven Wilson gets involved in the mix and you have something special again.

Good effort with the newspaper in a book - brings back the old excitement like the day I first bought home close to the edge and opened the gatefold sleeve.

As for the 5.1 mix, I loved it. Some people put real love and effort into this. To me it was like listening to an album on headphones in the 70's, when I was but a lad, and according to my daughter dinosaurs ruled the earth. The detail of the music was all around me and the magic was there - to read the lyrics and book while listening to the surround sound mix was special.

This was one of my special albums. It was obviously one of Steven Wilson's special albums. Seriously I don't feel ripped off, just glad I bought this.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in getting this out.
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on 7 November 2012
Ok I recall listening to this on release memorising the lyrics and loving the attitude. Maybe I taped it on a C90 with the Strawbs - I dont recall. Next was the CD in the box sleeve with newsapaper and the dodgy audio interview. This is the real deal tho. Splendid package, all the original plus some good 2012 reflection by some eyewitnesses. The audio is good, very good and new subtleties do emerge. The music and control is of course great. Is it worth 18 quid? If you are reading this you are probably less than objective (as am I); so yes. Don't expect quite the fun of S Wilsons remodelled Aqualung. Maybe buy the "new" Lark Tongues instead for revelations. I could be hard nosed and give this three stars but, hey, love is blind hence five stars.
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on 10 November 2012
I finally got my box set in the mail and excitedly put on the DVD in 5.1, the reason I got this for. I am happy with the mix overall and feel the album is an improvement in suround sound. However I had a few thoughts that something wasn't quite right with the sound on the first few minutes of the disc between 2:32 and 3:02 there is a problem with the audio on the 5.1 portion of the DVD. It is a slight delay or pause that is noticeable on 3 occasions. I am very disappointed this was not picked up and 1000s of fans who spent a lot of money on this set will also be disappointed about the problem that's on their DVD.
As a package this is well done, the booklet is great with a lot of pics and info on the sessions.
No bonus material is included which is probably the biggest let-down I have with this set.
The CD sounds great and is a definitive improvement on the old master.
If you have the patience wait until the DVD is fixed up before buying this box set.

Aditional info: 5-2-2013
Just received a replacement DVD after waiting 3 months. I am very happy to say the sound on the 5.1 mix is far superior to the one I reveiwed here originally, however I am sticking to my original review above to show the contempt EMI showed me in their lack of care regarding my initial problems with my DVD.
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on 5 November 2012
What a year it's been for us humble Tull fans! First the surprise release if the incredible TAAB2, then the best live performances from Mr Anderson and crew for, well, a very long time.
...and now this beautiful, wonderful, exquistely crafted remix of the original TAAB album.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ian and everyone involved in this project (particularly Steve Wilson, who somehow manages to retain every tiny drop of the original warmth & feel of the album, yet make it sound completely fresh & new - It's almost as if he's removed the balaclava I'd been wearing each time I listened it over the past 40 years.) It really is FANTASTIC!
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on 7 November 2012
I saw the band perform this masterpiece live around the time of release in the early seventies and have always been fascinated by IA's fine acoustic guitar work and BB's imaginative drumming, etc (BTW I recommend the live version on the AVO Session Basel DVD).

While this is a very worthwhile release, with an informative booklet and lots of options for enjoying the music, in my opinion the remixed formats are let down by the inconsistant drum/cymbal sound quality.

For example, at around 3 minutes into 'side one' when Mr Barlow comes in, the hihats sound so muffled it's as though he's not playing in the same studio as the rest of the band, yet at other times later on they're crystal clear. Perhaps there were problems with the original multi-track tape.

The stereo and 5.1 remixes are an interesting alternative but I have to say that on this occasion, taking everything into account, I prefer the sound of the original vinyl release. It's a pity as I was really looking forward to hearing this.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 December 2012
I purchased this package on release but returned it due to mastering glitches. When Amazon got new stock I reordered, and I'm happy to report that the new stock is fixed. You can easily tell; play for example the DTS 5.1 mix and there are glitches on the original release at 2:32, 2:48 & 3:03 of "Side 1". The fixed release is perfect.

I also noticed that the surround mix on the updated DVD is less bright than before, which personally I find an improvement. You will notice, for example, that the exaggerated cymbals from around about 7.00 minutes in on the old release are tamed in the fixed version. The story seems to be that the mix done by Steven Wilson was post-processed without his knowledge for the initial release, adding not only the glitches but also an artificially bright tonality. When the new DVD was created to fix the glitches, he took the opportunity to fix the equalisation as well, making this update doubly recommended.

Note that the CD is unchanged as far as I am aware.

Finally, a note on the entire package. What you get is a case produced like a hardback book, with CD and DVD in a plastic section at the back. The first 40 pages of the book reproduce the original newspaper that came with the initial LP release in the UK. All the content seems to be there, though the formatting is different to suit the smaller size and it does not quite capture the newspaper feel; then again it is easier to read in this format, if you like the quirky humour.

The next half of the book is in colour and contains interviews, photos, the chronology of the original Thick as a Brick tour, and the lyrics in German. Don't worry if you don't speak German - the English lyrics are contained in the newspaper section.

Overall the package is well done and the price is reasonable considering you get both original and new mixes in stereo and surround. It could be better; I would have liked a live performance included as well and this issue does not even include the 1978 Madison Square Gardens snippet included on the previous remastered CD. Never mind though; this is an excellent release of a most enjoyable piece of music. Just don't ask me what it is all about!

Update: I notice that Amazon has at the time of writing again frozen its stock on this title. I can only imagine that a customer again received the old glitched version. I suggest checking your version at the points mentioned above on the surround mix - the glitches if present are quite obvious.

You can also tell which DVD is which by looking on the DVD label. On the right, there is a heading DVD SIDE underneath which is some text about the aspect ratio etc. The corrected DVD has an underline beneath this block of text, while the original issue does not.
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on 16 August 2013
For me this is Tull's best album, much as I love Aqualung. Punchy, complex and beautiful all in one neat package! Haven't got 5.1 sound system so can't comment on the dvd disc but the 40th anniversary cd remix is spot on.
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