A veritable feast awaits fans of Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull on this elaborate DVD package, which boasts extensive concert footage and a load of extras. The focal point is nearly two hours of performances, filmed in late 20... more »01 (primarily in London, with additional material from several other locations) and featuring material from the band's entire lengthy career, including such staples as "Aqualung" and "Bouree." The current Tull incarnation (featuring, as always, Anderson on vocals, flute, and sundry other instruments) takes center stage; there are also a couple of numbers with a string quartet, and even a small-club reunion of the lineup that made the group's very first album back in 1968. Interviews with band members, testimonials from rabid fans, photos, and even an option for viewing a Tull performance from three different audience points of view are among the generous helping of extra features. --Sam Graham« less
"I've seen a thousand times before but only on my video"
Joseph Kimsey | Pac NW | 06/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I HAVE seen this DVD nearly a thousand times in the 3 weeks that I've had it. Poverty prevents me from owning a state-of-the-art sound system, so I really can't gripe about the supposed poor sound (it sounds fine on my Reagan-era stereo). And as to the complaints of Ian's vocals, I believe he sounds excellent. For those not in the know, Ian's voice over the last fifteen years or so has veered from his Heavy Horses-era richness and range to sounding something close to a demonic Popeye on some nights. Thankfully, his vocals seem to regain the former glory each additional time I see him and the band perform, which is pretty often.
Secondly, the band itself is in excellent form. Martin Barre is right up there with Richard Thompson in the criminally undervalued guitarist department; puts old Jimmy "hackneyed blues riff" Page to shame with his usual staggering performances. Martin's performances on "Sweet Dream", "Budapest", and (of course) Aqualung are particularly splendid.
Drummer Doane Perry is certainly a worthy heir to the great tradition of Jethro Tull drummers. Although I prefer Barrie Barlow's more martial style, Doane Perry's fluid drumming does add a lot to these pieces; marvelously so on "Roots To Branches", "Locomotive Breath", and "The Water Carrier".
Keyboardist Andrew Giddings shows obvious respect for Tull fans: he's Jethro Tull's webmaster, he always gives a lot of theatrical effort during the Tull shows (in the beloved John Evan manner), he recreates a letter-perfect "Locomotive Breath" piano intro nightly (to the delight of the fans), and most importantly, he gives consistently awesome performances. I really can't think of a more difficult job in rock music than to be Jethro Tull's sole keyboard player. Giddings shines in "Budapest", "Locomotive Breath", and in a creatine-driven "Living In The Past".
Lastly, Jon Noyce's precise bass playing and eccentric humor recalls Tull greats John Glascock, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, and David Pegg. Watch him shine while playing Glenn Cornick's difficult quasi-Bachian solo in "Bouree".
The string quartet adds great organic beauty to "Wond'ring Aloud" and "Life Is A Long Song". "New Jig" is great fun, complete with dancing rabbit, and "Protect and Survive", of the woefully neglected "A" album, was quite a pleasant surprise. The reunion tracks with Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker, and Glenn Cornick are great fun. Personally, I'm glad Tull didn't proceed in that direction (there wouldn't have been a Heavy Horses), but it's great to see and hear the original band play "Song For Jeffrey" and "Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You".
The special features are great fun; I laughed myself silly (well, just chuckled actually) at the Tull awards. One of the "winners" actually performed THE cardinal sin at a Tull concert and referred to Jethro as "him". That, along with some spastic dancing from various fans, made for a humorous experience.
A few gripes, though: I DO find the conversation during the songs to be a little distracting. I do enjoy hearing what the band has to say about the pieces, but perhaps before or after the songs would be better. Secondly, the bonus track collaborations with Fairport Convention and Uriah are strangely edited, cutting the songs off a little after the halfway point. Finally, "Hunt By Numbers" is an extremely redundant song.
Yes, Tull have to live with the past; yet, they're one of the few "classic rock" bands that still has a future."
Ian shouldn't mix a live JT album!
Joseph Kimsey | 01/08/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm frustrated, folks. Why, oh, WHY, do they allow Tull's Ian Anderson to mix a Jethro Tull live recording?! The drums are neutered to the point of almost being nonexistent in places! If it's possible to take the "oomph" out of a drum, Anderson does it like nobody else...it's all the more unfortunate given that Doane Perry is a superb drummer ( does America proud! ). He's got some awesome yet tasteful stuff going on...and it's all but buried on this DVD. I would think you'd have to work on making drums sound this thin, but Anderson's a pro at it!
My other complaint is that for some unfathomable reason, they couldn't just give us unedited, unadorned concert footage. It had to be interspersed with interview "nuggets" Fine, great idea...but why not offer this stuff among the "extra" features section of a DVD? Do we really want to hear Martin Barre's philosophy or favorite song list for the fourteenth viewing? What were they thinking, having the bass player's comments ON TOP of his bass solo?! If there's a way to turn it off, someone please tell me!
Guys...we aren't that stupid. We won't get "bored" with simple concert footage; trust us!
It's a good release overall, but if you're like me, be prepared to do some editing of your own, to make for a watchable performance without getting Ian's witticism for the umpteenth time..."
Get 'Songs From The Hippodrome'. You'll be glad you did!
M. A Maupin | Sparks, NV United States | 01/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had to add this to my previous review: I just saw the Brazilian import Jethro Tull - Songs From The Hippodrome (recorded by the BBC in 1977). This is an official release DVD licensed in Brazil, not a boot DVD-R. It is EXCELLENT!! Easily the best Tull performance I've seen on video. It's Tull as I remember them from my youth. It is much better than Living with the Past or Slipstream. In it, the band performs Jack in the Green, Thick as a Brick, Songs From the Woods, Velvet Green, Hunting Girl, Aqualung, Wind Up, and Locomotive Breath. The video and sound quality are very good (quite acceptable considering it was shot 26 years ago)... Get it, you'll be glad you did!And now back to the Living with the Past review: First let's get one thing straight...There are two kinds of people - those who don't mind having a documentary with their concert and those that do. I'm one of those that do mind. Let me say up front that the music & performance are great. But, what's up with the constant switching back and forth from daylight and nighttime shows (during songs). And then, why all the jerky stop frame 'isn't that special' effects. And interrupting the bass solo in Bouree for some comments - shame on you! These are great musicians. The concert would easily stand on it's own without all the extra STUFF!"
Tull solid as always
Waltzing Matilda | Maple Grove, MN USA | 05/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've waited and waited for something/anything to come out on DVD by Jethro Tull. I've seen them only a handful of times live and never been disappointed by them. In fact, I've been impressed by just how solid and polished they've sounded and performed each time. I picked up their 'Living With The Past' DVD today. Their professionalism comes through again with shining stars! This disc is a concert and interview program laced together as a tastefully done ongoing commentary but, unlike a lot of commentary type concert DVDs, they seldom actually cut into or miss any of the music throughout! Camera angles are excellent, no person is favored over others in the band camera wise (although, Ian Anderson remains the obvious front man), and the song selections cross the entire history of this versatile band. If you need to see a refreshingly professionally done concert DVD, buy this! Solid, interesting, musical, and pure Jethro Tull from beginning to end. You even get to glimpse a reunion of the four original band members in an intimate present day performance of some vintage Tull. The only reason I gave this DVD four stars out of five was that toward the beginning of the disc they get a little carried away with switching scenes between concert settings. The musical track is steady and uninterrupted but the scenery changes get a little tiresome while one is trying to focus on the concert at hand. Still, absolutely worth it!"
Too Old To Rock And Roll? NO WAY!!!
Waltzing Matilda | 05/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a major Tull fan since I first saw them in concert back in 1973 and I'm happy to say that this DVD is all that I could hope for. Where do I begin? The majority of the disc is devoted to a fabulous live performance taped at the Hammersmith Odeon in 2001. Fantastic sound, editing, and a great selection of songs intercut with fascinating interviews with the current band members make for fascinating viewing. It would not be unfair to compare this favorably to The Band's "The Last Waltz" (high praise indeed!) in terms of its structure and feel. Ian Anderson's voice is sounding better than it has in years and the current Tull lineup are sensational musicians. Along with this is an almost surreal reunion of the original 1968 members of the band who have a great time revisiting their early work. Also included are 2 beautiful acoustic pieces recorded with a sting quartet in Ian's home. There are also some fantastic extras on the disc including Ian's on-stage collaborations with Uriah Heep and Fairport Convention. My only complaint is that each clip is only about 30 seconds long. In any case, I can't rate this highly enough for all Tull fans.I think what I like best about this disc though is that it is not just a retrospective of a band in it's twilight but that it is an affirmation of their commitment to the music and to their loyal fans. They have been entertaining us for nearly 35 years now and Ian states that he has no intention of hanging up his flute anytime soon. Hopefully, this release will garner some new fans and critical respect and that Ian and the boys will someday take their rightful place in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. In the meantime, they continue to inspire me and I look forward to seeing them perform in my town this summer. Too Old to Rock and Roll? NOT EVEN CLOSE!"