Jethro Tull - Aqualung live
Last weekend I picked up an import copy of 'Aqualung Live'. I couldn't resist an opportunity to hear such an influential album live. I don't have too much a frame of reference for Live Tull. I saw them live in high school, which makes that almost 20 years ago. The show was ok and they quit early because Ian Anderson lost his voice.
The only other reference for live Tull is their appearence on the Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus. That performance is five star dead on perfect Tull in my book. So, I was expecting great and got ok with this disc.
The musicianship is both capable and faithful to the original. The vocals are where my major problem is. The vocals are terrible on every level. I understand it has been 30 years since Aqualung was recorded, and Anderson's voice may have changed. To me, though, it no longer resembles anything like his old recording voice. If if wasn't for the excessive showboating on flute, I wouldn't have even known it was Tull.
My next beef is how he sings the songs. This disc was just recorded very recently and it shows. He used to have such a powerful and strange and scary and wonderfully evocative voice. He sings the songs as if he has sung them for 30 years and is dead tired of it. He phones the whole performance in, as if he is doing chores. Frankly, I am pretty bummed. I am not bummed about spending the $20 on the disc (which a portion of apparently goes to charity). I am bummed because this could have been the greatest live document of one of the most important albums in history. I can think of few albums better than Aqualung, which I am enjoying now. I strongly feel Anderson could have done much better with his vocal performance, and that is what hurts.
All the important songs are here, of course. My favorite are absolutely the acoustic stuff from the second side (I guess I dated myself on that one. Albums don't have sides anymore do they?). Cheap day return, Mother Goose, Wondring Aloud, My God... that is the good stuff. They are all represented here with amazing acoustic accuracy.
So, I guess if you are some crazed Tull fan... you can get this. I'd just recommend upgrading your vinyl and cassette to CD of the original Aqualung.