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Jethro Tull

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Jethro Tull A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance album cover
4.87 | 86 ratings | 7 reviews | 80% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 - A Passion Play (A new Steven Wilson stereo mix)
1. Lifebeats / Prelude (3:24)
2. The Silver Cord (4:28)
3. Re-Assuring Tune (1:11)
4. Memory Bank (4:20)
5. Best Friends (1:56)
6. Critique Oblique (4:35)
7. Forest Dance #1 (1:34)
8. The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (4:10)
9. Forest Dance #2 (1:12)
10. The Foot Of Our Stairs (+ 2 extra verses found on end of multi-track reel) (5:08)
11. Overseer Overture (3:58)
12. Flight From Lucifer (3:56)
13. 10.08 To Paddington (1:04)
14. Magus Perde (3:53)
15. Epilogue (0:44)

Total Time 50:01

DVD 1 - A Passion Play
"A Passion Play" mixed to 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and PCM 96/24 PCM stereo
1. The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (Video clip)
2. Intro and outro film footage used in the Passion Play tour of 1973

CD 2 - The Chateau d'Herouville Sessions (A new Steven Wilson stereo mix)
1. The Big Top (3:05)
2. Scenario (3:25)
3. Audition (2:33)
4. Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day (3:27)
5. Sailor (3:10)
6. No Rehearsal (5:11)
7. Left Right (5:00)
8. Only Solitaire (1:28)
9. Critique Oblique - Part 1 (8:50)
10. Critique Oblique - Part 2 (5:29)
11. Animelee, 1st Dance (Instrumental) (3:35)
12. Animelee, 2nd Dance (Instrumental) (1:34)
13. Law Of The Bungle - Part 1 (5:08)
14. Tiger Toon (2:31)
15. Law Of The Bungle - Part 2 (5:26)

Total Time 59:52

DVD 2 - The Chateau d'Herouville Sessions
"The Chateau d'Herouville Sessions" mixed to 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and PCM 96/24 PCM stereo

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / flute, acoustic guitars, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, vocals
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- John Evan / piano, organ, synthesizer, vocals
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass
- Barriemore Barlow / drums, timpani, glockenspiel, marimba

Releases information

2CD+2DVD Chrysalis 2564630567 (2014, Deluxe Edition with 80 page book)

The book contents:
- An extensive article by Martin Webb on the preparation and recording of the album and the 'Chateau disaster' sessions that preceded it
- Steven Wilson's thoughts on mixing the recordings
- Memories of the cover shoot and Hare filming by dancer Jane Eve (Colthorpe)
- The Rev'd Godfrey Pilchard's recollections
- 1973 tour history
- Recollections of touring and PA systems by sound man Chris Amson

Thanks to NotAProghead for the addition
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Buy JETHRO TULL A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance Music

JETHRO TULL A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance ratings distribution

(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(80%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (3%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JETHRO TULL A Passion Play: An Extended Perfomance reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars A passion play ? Extended

How do you follow up an album that has been universally hailed as one of extreme brilliance, a masterpiece? How do you accomplish that? Well, really you don't. It is no point in making an album inferior, if that was your answer. You have to excell. Be greater than that praised album. Well, better than ever before! You need to become greater than ever. THE greatest. But then again, how do you go about doing that? I have no great answer but I do know that Jethro Tull pulled it off. Not everyone seemed to think that back in the day and there is still some debate whether or not it holds up to scrutiny. Like most people I adore "Thick as a brick", thinking it being one of the finest examples of progressive rock ever made, but I also think that "A passion play" is just as exemplary, though not the same at any great length. On the original vinyl the only two seemingly concurring elements was the inclusion of two long tracks. The two albums are really two different entities, apart from the two part suite thingy.

To me this has always been one of those albums superior to almost everything. I got it way back on a sale and I couldn't have been more than 16 years old. Two songs and a cover so dark and bleak it took my breath away, evoking the eclipse of existance. And from the first thumping beats of the album's beginning, to the last shivering notes of track two, I loved it. I was infused with a greatness, as if in the presence of divine beings. I had reached the holiest of places, the Temple of Tull. I loved it all. "The hare who lost his spectacles" was and is to me the perfect mockumentary of a children's story. In that piece of the musical palette lies something truly genius. The story is so wonderfully crafted and conducted, lyrically and not least musically, that I continously return.

I will not go into detaails of the contents of the album, particularily not the original album. It is a tremendous piece of music and differs, as stated, in tone and musical direction. It is very much Jethro Tull but in my opinion the darkest and most complex music created by them. The very delicate balance between all what makes Jethro Tull the great band they are, is augmented by the presence of truly complex shifts and turns, ammzing chord progressions and even some slight avant-garde stuff. It is an album of daring and vision that got slandered in the day, leading them to, as I perceive, to tread a more traditional Jethro Tull path on the next album. One can however see elements of "A passion play" on "Warchild" but in a gentler shape and form.

Now, the bonus tracks. It is a real treat to hear the recordings they made in France, which were to lead up to the album we know today. The sessions in France got canned and Ian Anderson re- wrote and arranged the songs in a different fashion and recorded it once again. That was really a blessing, since the album in it's known state is far superior. It is, though, a pleasure hearing those tracks that later transformed and those tracks that lead nowhere, despite their grand quality.

"A passion play" is one of the finest progressive rock albums I know. The quality of songs, the arrangement and the superior musicianship, alongside a tremendous dose of quirky british sense of humour, makes this one of those to-die-for albums. The price of this box is ridiculous and anyone can afford it, really. It is beautiful to look at and the overall package (songs, video, booklet and what not) really makes it essential.

Review by Neu!mann
5 stars Depending on your mood at any given moment, Jethro Tull's lofty 1973 LP represents either a) the nadir of self-indulgent Prog Rock pretension, or b) an underappreciated masterpiece. It's of course entirely possible the album was both, simultaneously: a flawed epic of high-minded musical imagination that aimed too high and overshot its target. You may love it or hate it, but either way the year 2014 "Extended Performance" draws a welcome silver lining around a cloudy historical legacy, adding so much invaluable hindsight and clarity that it has to be rated as an essential five-star experience.

The original 1973 album shouldn't require any introduction here. Suffice to say it arrived at the moment when Progressive Rock had reached its apex of grandiose ambition, followed within months by "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" (and, only a year later, by the Genesis "Lamb Lies Down" saga). Some sort of shared contagion must have been in the air at the time: check out Martin Barre's unmistakably Steve Howe-inspired guitar licks in the "Magus Perdé" curtain call of the Play.

The album was a lot to swallow in a single sitting, not least because of the pompous concept behind it: a meditation of Life (and the Afterlife) as theater, complete with gatefold proscenium cover layout and mock-program insert. The earlier "Thick as a Brick", likewise presenting an unbroken 40-minute suite, was designed in part as a concept album parody; this one demanded to be heard seriously, despite the oddball comic intermission about a Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.

Another divisive issue may have been Ian Anderson's over-reliance on synths and saxophone, instead of the more traditional guitar and flute. The results were predictably vilified in the pages of an increasingly conservative music press, expressing a (stupid) sense of betrayal by a group that had strayed too far from its Blues Rock roots.

But the passage of time has been generous to the album, and this lavish package makes it easier now to recognize the classic in the clutter. Besides a sympathetic stereo remix of the original LP by (who else?) Steven Wilson, you'll find copious essays, photos, and production notes in an 80-page (!) digibook, plus the inevitable surround-sound DVD, plus video clips of "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" (crude, but amusing), plus an indispensable second CD with the aborted 1972 Château d'Hérouville sessions, unabridged and undoctored but again remixed by Wilson.

You may already be familiar with some the so-called Château d'Isaster tapes, previously featured (with belated Ian Anderson overdubs) on the late '90s "Nightcap" compilation. But hearing the full set in tandem with its final "Passion Play" realization adds essential perspective to a difficult and misunderstood chapter in Tull history, which would extend to the 1974 "War Child" album: another beneficiary of the scrapped Château sessions.

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, even to hares without their spectacles. But the bottom line to this overlong appraisal is simple: "A Passion Play" has never sounded better, and with all the bonus material has never made as much sense.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Issue #100

A Passion Play on the P-Word
An Extended Performance?

Now Pretentiousser!

Ah, here we are. The prized prey of 1973's pompous and paradoxically pedantic pundits of pop critique, A Passion Play. The preeminent work in the prog paradigm of conceptual long-plays, it was poked, prodded and universally panned as prohibitively ponderous. These professional persecutors of pastoral pursuits, with egos as pumped up as Pink Floyd's inflated prop pigs, snuffled their protuberant probosces in paraphrase:
'Who is this pipe-playing pranceabout with a proclivity toward perplexity? A pox on he! HE IS PRETENTIOUS! PRETENTIOUS, I SAY! ....oh praise be my vocabulary, I should procure an augmented percentage payment for my perspicacity. *tsk tsk*'


Even if belated, the positive prospects of the play's fans would not be put out. Here, and now, a palliative presentation on four pristine plastic platters of digitized programmes. Packaged with the fabled Chateau d'Herouville sessions, the precursor to A Passion Play, the re-mastered source is propagated with improvements. Shall we dispense with the preamble and proceed?

Who could possibly protest the pronouncement that A Passion Play, this prosaic conceptual picture of a poor young souls demise presented in thespian parlance, stands as a pinnacle of progressive rock? As prefaced, many would. But let us not ponder further the failed placation of the pop plutocracy. Let us instead plow forward to how perfection could be further polished. Enter the patriarch of Porcupine: prog's prodigal prince of post- production, one Steven Wilson. Mixing to the standard pentangle of sonic projection ...point one. The encompassing sounds paint the play in hues of polychromasia that create additional pyretic layers of character to the seemingly polydactyl pressing of keys and strings. This plussing is no more evident than in the bounding bookend parts to the play's intermission, Forest Dance #1 and #2. Additionally, it has come to light that we were pinched of 50 some-odd seconds of verse on Foot of Our Stairs, until now.

The package also contains a peak into the band's pragmatic fiscal pilgrimage as potential ex-patriots to the palace proximal to Paris, Chateau d'Herouville. Was this possibly a peaceful place to practice and record? Alas, our players would be plagued with problems. First their place of sleep was infested with parasitic pests. But most problematic was the pabulum induced peristaltic pathology that progressed to peritoneal rumbling to the party's participants. Nonetheless the band plugged away at their project, their perseverance punished by having it hidden away from posterity. The product has familiarity, no doubt. Many passages ported to the eventual final A Passion Play release, while Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day would later be a pop-chart resident. Like the title discs, The Chateau d'Herouville Sessions are presented on both re-mastered CD and DVD featuring DTS 5.1 mix.

The parade continues with a booklet with pages of paragraphs on the history and pre-history of this profoundly wondrous work. The story of the previously summarized Chateau sessions is contained within along with discussion of the remix process by Steven Wilson, interviews past and present, and tour photos.

And if that was not enough, a live ballet performance of the greatest moment in progressive rock history, The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles!

The purveyors of enhanced media have properly palpated the pulse of this progger. This was no passive undertaking. 5 stars before. Now, 5 stars more.


Latest members reviews

5 stars Throughout the years this album has become my favourite of all the Jethro Tull catalogue. It is a bit hard to get into, i admit, but once you get it, it grows on you and never gets old. I simply find it absolutely perfect. Even the story of the hair seems strangely appropriate, providing a comic rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#2524804) | Posted by Megaphone of Destiny | Sunday, March 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ian Anderson's one-upmanship in this follow up album to Thick As A Brick, A Passion Play, has much in common with Yes's Tales From Topographic Oceans from the same year. Both albums come after the bands' arguably finest artistic achievements, TAAB and CTTE. Both are concept albums featuring comp ... (read more)

Report this review (#2437881) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Saturday, August 15, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The whole thing is more demanding than Thick as a Brick mainly because of the concept matter and you can argue that this is not as relaxed or is more ambitious if you like, but the delivery of the band is smooth and top class, i have always love the free style drumming of Barrie Barlow and this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378429) | Posted by Rikki Nadir | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A Masterpiece, that finally give justice to the Play. I'am not going on further details of the new Steven Wilson remix, the two sax phrases that got removed or the two extra verses on the "The Foot Of Our Stairs" segment. What is important here, as in all masterpieces, is the whole. First o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1274357) | Posted by GKR | Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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