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Jethro Tull: Live at Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD)

Jethro Tull's 1978 show at New York's Madison Square Garden has been circulating around the bootleg video lists for some time, and parts of this show have shown up on previous Tull DVDs in the past, but now Chrysalis have officially released the entire satellite TV broadcast plus all the additional audio of the songs that didn't make the BBC show. Jethro Tull were headlining MSG that night (with Uriah Heep as openers), and plans were made for the first live satellite transmission of a rock concert from the USA to the UK. Problem was, the entire broadcast was to be only 60 minutes, so Tull basically played a few songs, then took a quick break before coming back out to start the televised portion of the show (and look fresh for the TV audience who were under the impression that this was the beginning of the concert), then continue to play when the 60 minute time frame was up so they could satisfy the near 20,000 strong at Madison Square Garden, who were no doubt a little confused as to all the goings on that night. So, the DVD is basically set up just as things went that night, with DVD-audio of the first three songs ("Sweet Dream", "One Brown Mouse", and "Heavy Horses") before the video kicks in for the televised portion of the show. The band were spot on that night, and alongside Ian Anderson you had Martin Barre (guitar), Barriemore Barlow (drums), keyboard players John Evan & David Palmer, and bassist Tony Williams, who subbed for John Glascock (who was having heart surgery) on this, the Heavy Horses tour.

The band tears into classic numbers such as "Thick as a Brick", "No Lullaby", "Songs From the Wood", "Aqualung", "Locomotice Breath", and the medley of "My God/Cross Eyed Mary", thrilling the New York crowd with their mix of prog, hard rock, and folk styles. Anderson is as always the perfect frontman, his theatrical vocal style, flute, and acoustic guitar work constantly drawing attention, while the ever consistent Barre delivers plenty of crunchy riffs and blazing solos.

This DVD set also gives you a 78-minute CD of the show which you can then take and crank up in your car or load onto your iPod. Seeing as how this is such a strong performance from the band, having a live CD of the show is a welcome companion to the DVD as well as the other official live album from that time period, Bursting Out. Sadly, not much as far as extras on the DVD, but the sound and video are great as it's presented in 5.1 DTS and Dolby Surround. If you are a Jethro Tull fan, this will be an essential purchase.

Track Listing
1. Bagpipe Intro (audio only)
2. Sweet Dream (audio only)
3. One Brown Mouse (audio only)
4. Heavy Horses (audio only)
5. Opening
6. Thick As A Brick
7. No Lullaby (Including Flute Solo Of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
8. Songs From The Wood
9. Band Intro
10. Quatrain
11. Aqualung
12. Locomotive Breath (including Dambusters March)
13. Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
14. My God / Cross Eyed Mary
15. Locomotive Breath (including Dambusters March)
16. Aqualung

1. Sweet Dream
2. One Brown Mouse
3. Heavy Horses
4. Opening
5. Thick As A Brick
6. No Lullaby [including Flute Solo of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen']
7. Songs From The Wood
8. Band Intro
9. Quatrain
10. Aqualung
11. Locomotive Breath [including Dambusters March]
12. Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
13. My God / Cross Eyed Mary

Added: November 1st 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 8684
Language: english

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Jethro Tull: Live at Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD)
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-11-01 17:56:32
My Score:

Sporting the cover of the CD/DVD set is a very strange looking Ian Anderson with a typically normally looking Martin Barre. Anderson looks like he is getting ready to do something perverted with his flute again. Glad to know 31 years on nothing much has changed in that respect.

Live At Madison Square Garden (CD/DVD) is one of several live Jethro Tull DVD's that have become available over the last few years. I am glad that I didn't miss this one because it's a real gem. It contains a 93 minute concert recording in 5.1 DTS (96/24) surround sound (+Dolby Digital 5.1 & LPCM 2.0) and within all of that is 50 minutes of video footage from the groundbreaking (an often over used term in music but in this case true) of an international broadcast via satellite on October 9, 1978. The CD is a 78 minute edited stereo version of the concert. The only difference in tracks between the two is the "Bagpipe Intro" on the DVD and obviously the visual impact of a live Jethro Tull performance that is so strikingly brought to life again.

The camera work is typical from the 70's, the usual pulling in and out in an annoying way but other than that it is a quality video in an astounding 5.1 surround sound bringing it to present day specs in respect to auditory pleasures. The CD's sound is very good as well sounding full and crisp in stereo.

I never saw JT during this time period and wish I did. I have seen them three times now in 00's and with each passing year Anderson's voice deteriorates, which is normal I would think after performing for over 40 years. In any event I would still go see them live at the drop of a hat because they are as sharp as ever musically and Ian is always very entertaining.

In 1978 JT were in their prime with presenting tracks from period albums like War Child, Minstrel In The Gallery, Too Old Too Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young Too Die!, Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses. Not to mention the multitude of legendary releases prior to that. Their performances never lacked substance or moments of exhilaration. With all of that great material to draw that from it is no wonder. This performance is exceptional and the reproduction in sound and vision is really extraordinary when you take all points into consideration. I actually did not expect it to be that good but was also disappointed how it ended so abruptly like someone pulled the plug (gremlins in the sat com). No doubt this was due to many factors of the day that came into play which I am sure would not be a concern with today's technologies. The booklet is rather skimpy yet an adequate overview. This would not be a suitable addition for a casual rock fan's collection but a must for hardcore JT fans like yours truly.

Highlights include some incredible solo takes from Barre and innovative flute playing from Anderson. A typically superb Jethro Tull performance after all is said and done. It would have been a nicer package to treasure if there were some interviews with the band members and bonus treats that I have become so spoiled in expecting but I love this band and this reminded of why. Even though they could of done so much more (and maybe they still will) with the presentation and packaging of this important event it is easy to forgive all the inadequacies when you simply love the music and it brings you so much joy.

» Reader Comments:

Jethro Tull: Live at Madison Square Garden 1978 (DVD)
Posted by Tracy Lee Carroll on 2009-12-28 10:39:38
My Score:

I was at this concert and it is an evening I will never forget! I'm so glad to have found it available.

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