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Jethro Tull - Living With the Past CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.48 | 91 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Jethro Tull - Living in the Past (2002)

Jethro Tull is a band that has never convinced me fully. I understand the genius of Thick as a Brick, I like the folkish Songs from the Wood, the songwriting on Heavy Horses and I can even enjoy eighties output Stormwatch (with my favorite Jethro-song; Flying Dutchman). But non of these albums I can listen to with my full attention without loosing it. The recordings of the band just don't seem to work for me. A more confronting and 'in-your-room, in-your-face' sound might have changed quite a lot.

One does however have to admit that they survived the eighties, the nineties and are still successfully active today. This dvd-set is a live recording of a 2002 concert with song- material from throughout their long career. Crossed-Eyed Mary, Jack in the Green, Thick as a Brick (part of), Aqualung and Locomotive Breath are present on the track-list. Most other tracks are from more recent albums. Most of them are good with nice instrumental sections, but the real complexity of Jethro's progressive folk is gone. Still there is deep layer of sophisticated musicianship that amazes me. As if the band has never screamed to let people here how complex there music really was!

The sound of the band is good. Drums and bass sound modern and more direct than on older recordings and the keys still have that classic sound! The guitars sound thick and warm and they rock like they should! The flutes of Anderson are however the best achievement of the amplification-department of the band. The slight reverb and the amazing warm sound of the instrument is delightful. The acoustic guitars of Anderson sound good as well. The only problem here are the less confronting vocals. Anderson never sings a false note, he never makes a mistake, but the sound of his vocals is just less warm and diverse. This has always been a problem for the band, but on this live-set it really becomes something that lowers the quality of the experience.

The filming of the concert is good. The light-show is nice and the performance is good, though the band looks to professional. Just playing the music perfectly doesn't make a great live show! Anderson is however very involved and his flamboyant flute style hasn't aged. I dislike the interviews between the songs, they should have made a section for interviews and continues live concert (or at least an option for this).

One great addition is the fully acoustic song with a string section in the second halve of the movies. This song was recorded elsewhere, but it's nice to see Anderson play in this setting. Furthermore there are three blues-rock songs with an ex-Tull guitarist, recorded in a nostalgic mood. This is also an interesting addition, but I would rather have seen this as an extra on the dvd. The material is very bluesy and has little folk or prog influences.

Conclusion. A I said earlier, Jethro survived throughout their start in the late sixties. The band proves to be able to play an good live-concert even in the 21th century. The band sounds professional, the songs are played without changing them to this 'modern era' and some of the newer songs are good. The bonus material is interesting for fans. Still the dvd doesn't fully convince me of this bands musical vision. A reward of three stars is however the least I can give for this nice document that will be very worthwhile for fans of the band and the progressive folk genre. Good show!

friso | 3/5 |


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