Progressive-rock’s one and only Jethro Tull is nearing forty-years of service as a unit and its legacy continues via this 2008 DVD that highlights its performances in Germany, spanning 1970-1993. Here, vocalist/flautist and front-man Ian Anderson writes a few paragraphs in the booklet that iterates the wonderful relationship the band as experienced with its German fans, including promoter Fritz Rau.
The footage often highlights Anderson’s charismatic and witty stage persona via a time-lapsed portraiture, to include the grooming styles of the post-hippie era. However, It was a memory lane experience for me to witness the 1970-1971 8mm film of Tull rendering "With You There To Help Me," and "Nothing Is Easy." On a side-note, Martin Barre replaced original guitarist Mick Abrahams shortly after the release of the group’s 1968 inaugural album This Was. For these pieces, Anderson, Barre, bassist Glen Cornick and power drummer Clive Bunker spawn a blast from the past, which of course marks a time when Anderson projected his soon to be famous, minstrel-like stage attributes.
The movie commences with Tull executing nine pieces a the Rockpop in Concert - 1982 performance, including the mid-tempo rocker "Hard Times," and the British folk flavored number "Jack In The Green." They render spirited versions of the somewhat beaten to death classic rock comp "Aqualung," while guitar great Martin Barre and others enjoy ample soloing room within various movements.
We find Anderson with shorter hair and a trimmed beard on the 1986 shows, where the ensemble injects quite a bit of improvisation into "Thick As A Brick," and with the piece aptly titled "Improvisation II." On the latter, Tull ventures into some jazz-fusion territory, awash with knotty time signatures and heated solo jaunts. To that end, consider this essential viewing and listening for the band’s devotees.