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Jethro Tull - Aqualung Live CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.46 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Aqualung Live is the entire content of the original masterpiece Aqualung played as a radio performance and it absolutely rocks but is nowhere near the original. Every track is given a fresh approach and is notably reinvented on many occasions in the only way Anderson knows how. He sings at times with indifference and he splurts through his flute, and loses it completely at one stage. But it is very entertaining and, although fans would know every track by heart, the new approach is refreshing.

As I said on the original Aqualung review , the Aqualung riff is one of the best in rock history and is given a full blown treatment on this live rendition. Anderson spits out the lyrics: "snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes... feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck". The driving erratic rock riffage is broken by an acoustic interlude "sun streaking cold the old man wanders lonely taking time the only way he knows..." and then we have the rocked up section, "do you still remember December's foggy breeze...." and then Martin Barre's awesome lead break screams in the same fashion as the original although this version has a lengthy section that works well.

The rest of the performance features all the classic Aqualung tracks we have grown to love over the years. Cross Eyed Mary is similar in content with its chaotic pentameter and time signature, flute and guitar are perfectly juxtaposed. Even Anderson admits to the audience that some of these tracks are rather as "strange as I remembered it." The tracks that run for less than a minute are a perfect example and it is rather weird to hear these updated versions. The best tracks are of course My God, Hymn 43, Mother Goose and great overblown tracks such as Locomotive Breath which became a single and ripped up the charts. The original album is one of the most popular Tull, and the band have played it in its entirety many times even before this radio performance. The bonus tracks are interesting snippets of information about the album. Anderson said emphatically it's not a concept album, "just a bunch of songs", but we fans know better don't we? Overblown concept albums are a Tull trademark and here it sits. Anderson talks about the riff for Aqualung - Anderson states the riff was based on Beethoven's classic dadada duuuuum, dadada duuuuuuuuum symphony and this makes a lot of sense. The interview stuff is only worth hearing once but it's nice to learn all this from the horse's mouth so to speak.

In conclusion, I guess there is no replacing the original, but this live version of the classic is a pleasant surprise and recommended as a complimentary work, rather than a substitute, to the original masterpiece.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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