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Jethro Tull - Live At Montreux 2003 CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

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4 stars After the average "Acoustic Tull", we'll get the jazzy one. At least if we stick to the title of the album.

As Ian will say during his introduction for "Bourée", the Montreux Festival has deviated from its core value and it became a more open event than it used to be. Even Purple or Yes have been playing there on such an occasion, so why not Tull ?

Several songs will have the jazzy mood though, but not too many "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" from the "Christmas Album" : it features very nice flute during the second part. Several songs are unknown like "Empty Cafe" (from Martin Barre), "Eurology" (the study of the "Euro / ?" phenomenon).

Some bluesy numbers as well with the opening number "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine For You", I guess to please the crowd who came to listen to a less rocking Tull, maybe. Although when Ian announces "Fat Man" he tells that their concert will be made of two parts and that the second one will be dedicated to a more electric show. The crowd is then really cheering. As I would have been because this first CD is not really great to be honest even if this version of "Bourée" is very good. As well as "Hauting Girl".

What is really great are Ian's introductions. He is a great showman of course and has always been so. When you look at the DVD from the Isle Of Whight festival in 1970, he was already full of assurance and what an incredible sense of humour (although it must be pretty boring for Martin to suffer these jokes for more than thirty years by now). What a great man !

It is rather strange that "Fat Man" has been placed on the second disc though. Since the break was just after this track, it should have been featured on disc one, where it belongs.

Because the following songs will display a totally different mood. The one I love. Some great Tull ones.

And it starts very powerfully with a fantastically hard "Living In The Past". A highlight of course. The pace is set for "Nothing Is Easy". Same power, same hard attack. Same result : great. I am not always keen on these medleys which shorten the original songs far too much. Nonetheless, these eight minutes are a pleasant voyage through "Songs From The Wood", "Too Old..." and "Heavy Horses". Pleasant added vocals from "Masha" (also featured during "Dot Com" on CD one).

With the next song, we enter the best of the Tull's repertoire. "My God" is one of the four BIG songs from "Aqualung". Even if the version available on "Aqualung Live" in 2005 will sound better, it is really great to have this song on a live album. Another highlight of course. Just like the emotional and beautiful "Budapest". Over eleven minutes of pure joy. Brilliant Tull !

If some of you are a bit fed up with "Aqualung" and wonder why they still play this song, just listen to the crowd reaction on the opening riff. I guess that, like me, LOTS of people will always be pleased to listen to this wonderful song. Another one to be played at my burial party (the guys attending will have a damned good music session, I bet you).

At the end of the song (which is the last of the official show), Ian will have the brilliant idea to explain to the audience how precisely they will need to act to get the band back on stage. Absolutely hilarous. You have to listen (or better to watch the DVD) for this part.

I guess that lots of you will be irritated to listen to "Locomotive ..." as the encore. But I am not. It is another of the Tull song that I can not be tired of (and, believe me, I have been listening to it an awful lot). Tull is definitely too young to die. I just love them.

This live performance is rather impressive (at least the second part). Hats off guys. To deliver such a brilliant concert after all these years ! Always sounding so fresh and enthusiasts. There is also a DVD of the same concert. I cannot avoid to recommend it to you. You'll be able to convert it into audio tracks and get both versions for a single price.

I guess that in the future little new Tull material will be available and that the fan will be consoled witht his sort of great live albums. If I would rate it pure on the quality of both disc, I guess that 4 + 2 = 3. But I am so thrilled with disc two that I will upgrade the whole to four stars.

Report this review (#136396)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent concert.

The selection and the interpretations of the songs is fanatastic.

The display in the stage is very good too.

Ian Anderson shows very well that he is the leader,with his very good work with the flute ,guitar an other instruments and with his very good sense of humour.Martin Barre doesn,t stay behind.

Very well filmed and fantastic sound.

This concert of course mantains Jethro Tull in the first place of nowadays art rock.

Four stars.

Report this review (#148180)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Jethro Tull Live in Montreux has been released on DVD which is a marginally better experience but the CD release captures excellent sound quality and that distinctive live atmosphere. 

The Live in Montreux concert is a good way to fill in an afternoon but it is certainly not a prime example of Tull by any measure. The setlist is not the problem as there is enough here to satiate the appetite; Bouree proves Anderson still has flute chops and knows how to warble with the best of them. Living In The Past is always a crowd pleaser and one of the best Tull tunes proving Anderson can still stand on one leg. Nothing Is Easy is one of the rockers that gets the feet tapping. My God is one of the "Aqualung" tracks that stands the test of time. Aqualung is always a definitive classic with that Martin Barre riff that haunted me since the 70s. Locomotive Breath closes the show with a killer track that never disappoints.

The problem is that Andersons voice is as dry as sandpaper and the band at times seem disinterested. A more enthusiastic approach would have sufficed, but it reminded me of when I saw Bob Dylan live at the Casino in Australia, and the thing that stood out was that he didn't seem to notice the crowd, almost totally oblivious that we were even there and stuck to playing tunes from his latest album rather than any of the classics. At least Tull here do play classic Tull tunes but it is not enough for the average fan and seems to be more for the die hard fans. This is why on his more recent live albums or concerts he sticks to a very solid classic album setlist as the songs cover up the fact he is an ageing musician. I know when I saw him playing in Saint Kilda some years ago, he had other singers to help him sing the songs that are too high for his range now, and that is a good move. You can still enjoy the show, because the songs are the real stars. And he came across as very energetic and full of enthusiasm on that show too. The Montreux concert seems like an after thought and it is disappointing to hear the band like this. Bursting Out is way more exciting if you want a live treat.

Grab this if you are a completist as the sound is very good but make sure you pay a low price as I did

Report this review (#2755478)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2022 | Review Permalink

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