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Jethro Tull: Nothing is Easy-Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (DVD)

After reading our review of Jethro Tull's Nothing Is Easy Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970, and hearing a friend's copy of the CD, I thought, why don't I go pick up the DVD. I always wondered how early Jethro Tull appeared in concert, since the earliest I was able to see them live was in 1979 (due to my age at the time). Also, the CD sounded great, and Tull played a lot of my early favorites in the Isle Of Wight concert. So there is no way I can be disappointed, right? Wrong!!!

For starters, if you thought that you were getting the entire Isle Of Wight concert in the DVD start to finish, you may be disappointed. "With You There To Help Me" and "To Cry You A Song" are conspicuously absent from this DVD, while they are on the CD version. It is possible that the footage for these songs were either nonexistent, or that the film did not weather the test of time. On the front of the DVD, where an advertising sticker sometimes appears, it states that "To Cry You A Song" is included even though it is not. It only appears as audio during one of the menus. Regardless of the reason that these 2 songs did not appear, intentional or otherwise, I believe that it should have been disclosed in the liner notes or during one of Ian Anderson's many monologues.

Instead, we get a misplaced version of "Song For Jeffrey", which was from the British show Rolling Stone Rock & Roll Circus. It appears that the song is not even performed live, but is more like a very early MTV music video. On a very interesting note, while I was viewing "Song For Jeffrey", I said to myself "I didn't know that Mick Abrams was a left-handed guitarist". Then I realized that it was indeed Tony Iommi playing with Tull. He actually did a very short stint with Tull before Martin Barre came aboard. In addition, we get a DVD that's filled with information regarding tension, violence, and hippies vs. the establishment rigmarole, complete with interviews of disgruntled fans who were not happy with the event planning for various reasons. I'm sorry, Ian, but I really didn't need to know about the turbulent times surrounding the Isle Of Wight festival. Some people may find it interesting, but it should have either been included in an extra section of the DVD, or in the 25th anniversary DVD. As a longtime Tull fan, for me it was simply about the concert footage.

As for the concert footage itself, it was great to finally see early Jethro Tull in action on stage. The highlights for me were "My Sunday Feeling", "My God", and "Nothing Is Easy". We get treated to an early Ian Anderson flute solo during "My God", complete with Ian's signature flamingo-like stance while playing the flute. Unfortunately, aside from getting a first hand look at an early classic performance by Ian Anderson, we did not get to see much of the other members of Jethro Tull, unless you count Clive Bunker's drum solo during "Dharma For One". I must say I was very impressed with his solo, especially when you consider that they did not use big, fancy drum kits back then.

All in all, other than the few shining moments we get to see Tull perform on stage, this DVD will not go down as a great addition to any music DVD library. I consider Ian Anderson one of the top musical icons of all time, but I believe he owes us an apology for this one. I will give it 3 stars simply for the great performances of the songs that I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Track Listing
1. Bouree (shown during the soundcheck)
2. My Sunday Feeling
3. Song For Jeffrey (from Rolling Stone Rock & Roll Circus)
4. My God
5. Dharma For One
6. Nothing Is Easy
7. Medley: We Used To Know/For A Thousand Mothers

Added: May 12th 2005
Reviewer: Jack Toledano
Related Link: Jethro Tull Website
Hits: 3068
Language: english

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Jethro Tull: Nothing is Easy-Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-05-12 08:40:47
My Score:

While far from being a complete and thorough statement of Tull's participation at the legendary Isle of Wight festival, this DVD still is an enjoyable snippet of a classic and raw set from one of rock's long standing bands. It's interesting to hear Ian Anderson's current take on the turbulence and general craziness of what went on at that festival, and his descriptions of the anger and confusion that was the "hippies" versus the establishment, and Tull being caught in the middle, is a rather unique tale, especially considering that Tull usually stayed away from this type of controversy. While it would have been nice to see the entire set, there's no doubt of the power that this line-up of the band possessed, even though it was soon to change after this show with the sacking of Glenn Cornick. Clive Bunker's drum work is intricate and powerful, Cornick's bass beefy and fuzz-toned, and Martin Barre's crunchy Gibson chords and solos rang with searing tone. Ian is correct in assessing that perhaps this show (and the time in general) was more reliant on theatrics and overindulgence, as the band members seemed to constantly be overplaying and hamming it up, but that was what the 70's was all about. The extended guitar, bass and drum solos, Ian's unique approach to the flute, the flailing about, all added to the overall success that this gig was for Tull, and the reactions of the 600,000 + that were at the festival seem to indicate that their performance was much appreciated, considering that the band still had not hit their peak of popularity yet. So, if you are a Tull fan, this DVD needs to be in your collection. It sure isn't perfect, but if this is all the footage that is available, then so be it. My suggestion to Ian and Eagle Rock Entertainment-next time don't market something one way if the product really isn't complete. Rock fans are very forgiving if simply told the truth outright. This is a portion of the Isle of Wight set from Jethro Tull, complete with commentary from Ian Anderson, some history of the band, lots of info on the festival itself, and no bonus features. There you have it-now decide if that's enough for you to make the purchase. My guess for the Tull fan is it will be.

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