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I had the great good fortune of seeing Jethro Tull live when they were doing the original Aqualung tour - they were hardly known at the time - and as great as the album is, their performance was even more electrifying. It was at Madison Square Garden and I was up front, a few feet from the performers.
As the show started the house lights went down and the stage went black. Silence. Long pause. Then, hobbling out of the blackness a single spotlight caught Anderson dressed extravagantly like the old man on the album cover, bent over and leaning on his flute, which he used as a cane. Leering maliciously, slowly creeping up front, he finally stopped, silently grinning out at the house as the audience howled with delight. Then he threw his flute straight up, high, and the spotlight went up with the flute, shining and sparkling as it twisted its way up and then down, the only thing visible in the darkness.
When the flute came back down it was met by Anderson's upraised hand, and at the instant he clutched it all the stage lights came up and the band struck the thunderous opening notes of the album. And it got better and better and better as the show went on, Anderson leaping and snarling and playing flute at the same time, a truly athletic performance. Whew! I can still see it.
If you've somehow denied yourself owning this remarkable work of art and music, get it now! I wish you many hours of enjoyment listening to this treasure.
In part, that's because it was misdescribed. No sooner was it released than the rock press started hailing it as a "concept album" (prompting Ian Anderson to go to work on the surreal and Pythonesque _Thick as a Brick_ so as to give everybody, tongue firmly in cheek, a _real_ "concept album").
"Concept albums" are frowned on these days (although I like them just fine); nevertheless this isn't one of them. Sure, there's a lot of thematic unity; the first half ("album side") involves homelessness and lechery, and the second Anderson's reflections on the religious upbringing of his adolescence. But a "concept album"? Not really.
But it does reflect a critical stage in the development of Jethro Tull. Bassist Glenn Cornick had just departed and been replaced by Anderson's boyhood friend Jeffrey Hammond; as of the next album (TaaB) Barrie Barlow would replace Clive Bunker on drums and percussion. And crucially, two things were happening on this album that would affect Tull's direction for the remainder of its still-ongoing career: Anderson was developing both his songwriting and his acoustic guitar chops, and Martin Barre was successfully finding his "voice" as a guitarist.
It's something of a cliche among Tull fans that Anderson's songwriting had taken a darker, more cynical turn as of _Benefit_ (the album preceding this one). Well, on _Aqualung_ that bitter fruit is really starting to ripen. There's the title track, of course, for which Anderson credits the lyrics to his first wife Jennie (he lifted many of them from her notes on the back sides of her photographs of homeless people). There's "Cross-Eyed Mary".Read more ›
Well along comes Chrysalis in April 2016 and offers up a cheaper alternative - a fully-loaded 'Adapted Version' of that Super Deluxe 'Collector's Edition' Box set – this time with 2CDs and 2DVDs clipped inside a beautifully packaged 80-page Book Pack. It's the same Remastering from 2011 but 'newly' handled in 2016 'only' by Steve Wilson with some multitrack transfers by KRIS BURTON. The Audio is fabulous - it's packaged better and at under a twenty-spot - priced to sell. Here are the snots running down my nose...
UK released Friday 22 April 2016 - "Aqualung: 40th Anniversary Adapted Edition" by JETHRO TULL on Chrysalis 0825646487080 (Barcode is the same) is a 4-Disc REISSUE BOOK SET consisting of 2CDs and 2DVDs (1 is Audio, 2 is Audio and Video) that plays out as follows:
Disc 1 (43:45 minutes):
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
3. Cheap Day Return
4. Mother Goose
5. Wond’ring Aloud
6. Up To Me
7. My God [Side 2]
8. Hymn 43
10. Locomotive Breath
11.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Supurb Mix. I forgot how great this album was unitl i herad the steven wilson 5.1 re-mix. A must have even for stereo listening. 5. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Sounds great, the book is very informative, and I especially like the Quad mix.Published 10 days ago by Pete Zolli
Great sounding mixes by Steven Wilson! Love the 5.1 landscapes. Very comprehensive ..Published 12 days ago by Alan
Truly one of the great albums of all time regardless of genre. Rock does not, cannot, get any better...and yes, I rate it the best Rock album of all time.Published 24 days ago by Bob Conger
I saw it live and fell in love with Ian Anderson's antics. Can't get his leg as high any more, but can he ever make the flute dance.Published 28 days ago by Wayne J. Byrnes
Thought I heard it all when it came to this one. Curious about the 5.1 mix so I bought it. Cant go wrong with Wilsons work. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
Everything you could want from this timeless classic. Brilliant 5.1 mixes from Steven Wilson, stereo too (of course), the original mix, and plenty of extras that fill out this... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeffrey Crawford
Was I listening to the same DVD Surround Mixes as the other reviewers? The first thing I noticed was that Ian's vocals were muffled and pushed too far into the background, while... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Music Fan
Steven Wilson Strikes Again...Super Audio Super Mix Like listening for the first time...Published 1 month ago by Robert E. Schindler