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Jethro Tull - Songs From Bethlehem CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Mayhem Gig!

There are several Jethro Tull live concert DVDs currently on the market, and though I know several of them I cannot claim to know all of them. At least not yet! However, out of the ones I do know, Songs From Bethlehem is my personal favourite. I should say upfront that the sound and picture quality is not the best, and this DVD is indeed something of a semi-official release, or what is sometimes known as a "factory-made bootleg" (the issue was raised whether to remove this DVD from the site, but the admins eventually decided it should stay - it is a legitimate release and not an illegal bootleg). But despite the suboptimal sound and picture quality, there is no question about the immense quality of the performance itself. Compared to some other recent live releases from the band (Living With The Past and Montreux 2003), the energy and passion in the present show is simply amazing. The band is really on fire here!

The set list is hardly exactly as I would have liked it to be, but I cannot complain about such an excellent performance. There are, for example, several songs from the band's Blues Rock beginnings, an era of the band's career that I am not very fond of (and have indeed expressed my dislike for it elsewhere). But these performances are so convincing and rocking, that they even win me over! The band's pre-Aqualung studio releases usually leave me rather cold, but the versions on this DVD of songs like Living In The Past, Nothing Is Easy, and With You There To Help Me are just great! The classic Aqualung album itself is represented by My God and Wind Up in addition to the expected title track and, of course, Locomotive Breath.

There is a little snippet from The Flying Dutchman from Stormwatch (a personal favourite album of mine) and a medley of Songs From The Wood, Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll, Heavy Horses, Songs From The Wood. The songs from the unjustly maligned Dot Com album are great as well if you ask me. I never understood why some people dislike that album. A couple of pieces from Ian's and Martin's respective solo works are played too.

Ian provides some charming and often funny banter between the songs. On some other live recordings, I found him not very funny to be honest.

Highly recommended!

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Posted Saturday, March 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

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