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


Jethro Tull

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3 stars Jethro Tull - Live At Montreux 2003 DVD

Review by ProgKidJoel

My first encounter with Jethro Tull came in the form of this DVD - A relatively unenthusiastic performance of some of their greatest hits at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003. It features some great songs and musicianship, the highlights being Bouree, Life's A Long Song and the JT classic, Aqualung.

The performance, as I said, is relatively unenthusiastic in comparison to many other JT DVD's. This seems to be more of a symptom of aging than laziness, although is still disappointing. Ian Anderson's voice is evidently fading, and Martin Barre seems out of place seems out of place as he plods along on guitar and occasionally plays the flute with Ian.

Sonically and visually, this DVD holds up the "Live At Montreux" series quality - Great recording, sonic sound quality, camera angles and video quality. The sound is as crisp and as clear as the video at all times, and its a shame the performance isn't of similar quality to the recording. The recording is really the saving feature in this disc - If the quality was missing, I honestly doubt this DVD would have anything going for it.

Decent, but not great or essential. Great version of Aqualung though!



Report this review (#216263)
Posted Sunday, May 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Nothing is easy"

Certainly not trying to front a legendary rock band after so many years, with the dogs of age at one's heel. I'm torn as to how necessary such shows are these days when there are so many fine young bands with more relevant material to check out. My cynical side always brings the famous Grace Slick interview to mind where she says that no rocker of her generation over 40 should be allowed on stage. (Though 50 is the new 40 I they say) Granted there are some worthwhile artists well beyond that age who are still releasing relevant albums which sound like more than just product. There are many more old rockers who are in the phase of "managing their careers" by making obligatory live performances of nostalgia filled set lists, releasing lousy new material (if any), and watching over their legacy by supervising remasters and compiling collections. I won't go so far as to charge Tull with all of that, but I will say there are certainly moments in this performance where I wonder why another live Tull DVD was necessary.

Looking at the upside there are many moments of Anderson's exquisite flute playing to be enjoyed, and Barre and the band are well beyond competent. Bouree, Budapest, and Nothing is Easy were wonderful highlights that I enjoyed very much. The Christmas song God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen was lovely. Anderson was doing his best to stay engaged despite a wilting voice that he struggled to maintain, the others were very good as mentioned but sometimes seemed on autopilot. The performance was professional but the versions presented here just do not grab you by the jugular, this is not the definitive Tull. Sitting through the closing of Aqualung and Locomotive is something I could not do again, bringing the Slick quote back to my mind after I was able to push it out for several tracks. The production is low key with quality views and sounds, with nothing fancy in terms of a light show or frills. A modest recommendation but only for Tull fans really. Beyond the fan base I see no reason why you need to shell out hard-earned cash for this one.

Report this review (#260419)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This 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 looks 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 see the band like this.

Grab this if you are a completist as the sound is very good but make sure you pay a low price as I did, because you may only view it once or twice.

Report this review (#1819298)
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2017 | Review Permalink

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