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Jethro Tull - Jack In The Green - Live In Germany CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

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Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A collection of fine German Tull moments

This is quite an odd and fun bunch of songs taken from Jethro Tull's years and performances in Germany over the years. The dates on the performances range from 1970 and 1993, and the venues range from stadiums to dinner parties. All in all this is quite the look at the mad fluter and crew over the course of time (mostly the 80s) and what they did during those years. People who are weary of Tull's 80s years can be eased with comfort knowing that even though most of the DVD takes place in the year 1986 they don't play any material from their infamous Under Wraps album. Most of the material comes from Broadsword And The Beast as well as a number of their earlier albums.

All in all the performances are great, as we would so expect from Anderson. As usual he's all over the stage in his maniacal fashion tossing out balloons to the crowd between his famous standing on one leg position and downing a mug of beer, as usual, he's perfectly on queue and key throughout his deliveries, but that's to be expected from a caliber of musician such as himself. Regardless, it's always fun to see him bounce around the stage while wielding his flute like a baton and it's funny to note that he's never going to stop doing that kind of thing as the dates on the concerts will indicate. One thing I've always loved about Anderson (and it's no different here) is that he often takes time to talk to the audience and take a few seconds to talk about the song before he gets into it. Not after every track of course, but it's a nice treat when he does.

What's quite notable and fun however is Tull's sense of fashion at the time. What I love about these guys is - just look at the other bands at the time. Look at the Miami Vice suits that Rush wore during the 80s, or the costumes that Yes used at the time. It's incredibly refreshing to see Mr. Antithesis of fashion himself, Ian Anderson, ignoring all that during their early 80s performances and wearing a jester's outfit for the entirety of the footage, the rest of the band dressed appropriately. Even moving into later years Anderson remains in a kind of farmer's outfit while the rest of the band moves more into the 80s fashion. Funny to note as well though is Anderson's resemblance to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin during their '70s footage though. From the right angle you'd almost swear they were they same person!

One thing to note is about the production of the DVD. The footage is quite good given the times, but during one of the sections of the DVD there is a disturbing lack of attention put into the audio mix (likely during the recording) as there's sharp spikes where the audio will drop to near nil, then slowly comes back. This is not just my speakers for sure because the other 4 sections of the DVD show no hint of this. I really hope that guy got fired or something because it near ruins a fantastic rendition of a Thick As A Brick medley. Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little since the mix really does nothing to affect the enjoyment of the piece, but it is noticeable.

Standout sections of the DVD include the previously mentioned Brick medley as well as a very nice abridged version of Heavy Horses as well as the standards Aqualung and Locomotive Breath performed with all the flute flailing you can handle. The most odd performance perhaps being the 1993 section where... well... I won't spoil the surprise.

This is a great collection for the fans and a very good collection for everyone else. What's great about Tull is that they change up their setlist often so you don't get the same songs over and over again (even if some of their ''classic'' stuff does get played to death). Prog fans should find a lot to like here even if Thick As A Brick isn't performed in it's entirety. I'm going to give this one 3.5 stars because it is just so much fun to watch. Not essential, but not one to be passed up so easily! One section of the DVD is cursed with a bit of a sound problem, but this once can still be called very good. Tull fans should buy this though - you won't be disappointed!

Report this review (#173954)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The idea of this DVD is almost strange, a collection of Jethro Tull's performances in Germany. In practice it does work, but more Like one concert with bonus material than as a complete collection.

What you get is one very good concert from 1982, during the Broadsword era with songs like 'Fallen On Hard Times,' and 'Pussy Willow,' mix it up with classic tracks like 'Heavy Horses,' 'Sweet Dream,' and the ever present concert closing duo of 'Aqualung,' and 'Locomotive Breath,' all performed effortlessly, with a pretty decent audio mix and visuals. This part of the DVD is where you feel you've got your money's worth, a well and recorded concert with enough classic material on it to keep you happy and Ian's voice is still at its best.

Then however, you get another concert which was worse audio, worse visuals and the performance feels a little flatter and less energetic, with Ian's voice not as strong as on the other concert. As a bonus this is fine but it doesn't stand up incredibly well on its own and while its certainly good, it doesn't exactly feel great. The performance of 'Thick as a Brick,' is interesting with some jamming and segments from the second half that the band usually don't play live and the version of 'Too Old To Rock and Roll?' is solid enough.

Then there is a kind of poorly recorded, filmed and mixed version of Hunting Girl that doesn't begin entirely at the beginning, followed by a well shot but very dull TV spot from the early nineties and then an absolutely fantastic 'Benefit,' era live spot where they play a haunting and fantastically recorded version of 'With You There To Help Me,' and a strange version of 'Nothing is Easy,' that's full of mistakes because it looks like Ian's ribs are injured. Then it ends, abruptly.

So, as a collection its rather strange. However, for a Tull fan I look at it as an Excellent concert from the Broadsword tour with an ecclectic collection of bonus material. The aforementioned versions of 'Too Old To Rock and Roll,' and 'With You There To Help Me,' are good enough to make the rest of the DVD feel worthwhile and the 1982 concert would stand up on its own, and you do get a booklet with detailed linear notes from Mr. Anderson as usual so there is a lot of Material here for a Tull fan to enjoy, however I feel it should lose at least one star for the flat sound in the second concert and the poorer moments of the additional material.

In conclusion its not perfect but there's a lot of good stuff for any Tull fan.

Report this review (#278830)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink

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