CD Review of Live At Montreux 2003 by Jethro Tull
Recommended if you like
Flute, Dinosaurs and, er,
Jethro Tull, really
Label
Eagle Eye Media
Jethro Tull:
Live At Montreux 2003

Reviewed by Una Persson

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R
eleased in conjunction with a 19-song DVD of the same 2003 concert in Montreux, Switzerland, this 2-disc set captures the legendary Jethro Tull in all their aging glory.

Ian Anderson – Jethro Tull’s leader, singer, songwriter, flautist and all-around multi-instrumentalist – should have taken a page from Roger Waters’ book. When will these lumbering prehistoric rock acts, especially those of the (shudder) “progressive rock” ilk, get it through their heads that all people really want is to see their musical heroes of days gone by come out and play nothing but their hits? Or, as in the Roger Waters example (even better!), do a modern, live recreation of an entire album? For instance, recreating the Thick as a Brick tour from 1972 would have been a much better (and bigger) draw than this double CD hodgepodge of a concert.

Sure, the to-be-expected Jethro Tull hits are here: “Aqualung” and “Locomotive Breath,” of course (the concert closers at the end of Disc 2), but also “Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You,” “Bouree,” “Nothing Is Easy” and “Living in the Past.” I don’t think it’s enough for the casual fan, though, especially as the tired-sounding Anderson can’t even begin to do justice to the originals here in 2003. And while the band sounds tight enough, ultimately it’s Anderson himself who does these proceedings in. Though he can still blow a mean whistle-stick, his vocals really do sound tired (hey, Tull has been recording and touring for 40 years, and Anderson’s, what, like 100 years old? Give him a break), and his stage banter’s pathetic.

I can’t get past the meager song selection, though. What’s with all this crap from such latter day non-starters as Rupi’s Dance, Roots to Branches, and J-Tull Dot Com? And what’s with the Christmas music crap? C’mon, Ian! I know at the time of this summer concert in 2003, you were about to release a Christmas album, but was it really necessary to break out a couple of numbers? The first-half-acoustic/second-half-electric format is fine. But you’ve got a couple dozen albums or so to build your set lists from, and you probably shouldn’t be venturing past, say, 1976 to mine for material anyway. You can have my “recreating the ’72 Thick as a Brick tour” idea for free.

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