This is the first time that this album has been released on vinyl, originally released in 2005 on CD and DVD as a live document of the concert played at Mannheim’s Rosengarten during 2004. This two LP set in black vinyl has been cut using Direct Metal Mastering, with audio mixing by Andy Kupner and mastering by Uli Friedel. It is presented in a gatefold sleeve using the cover design from the CD/DVD release and includes (limited) notes from Ian Anderson himself and a number photos. The vinyl is of a good weight and quality, which you would expect from releases these days.
Ian Anderson has dabbled with the orchestration of his music on a number occasions, maybe due to the fact that Jethro Tull’s music is a perfect fit for this style of presentation. That said, here the orchestra enhances the music rather than taking over, supporting the core band and giving the perfect platform for Anderson’s voice and flute. Couple this with clever song selection and arrangements and it’s a listening treat for diehards, and maybe some new listeners as well. The one thing to note is that Martin Barre is not present and guitar duties are handled – and very well I might add – by Florian Opahle. John O’Hara provides keyboards and accordion plus conducts the orchestra. The addition of the rhythm section of James Duncan (drums) and David Goodier (bass) adds up to a more than capable line-up.
Interestingly for an orchestrated album, the orchestra plays a limited role during the first half of the set, as I said, enhancing the music. As the concert progresses their interactions become more noticeable whilst never taking over. In short, the arrangements are very good and clever. The song selection includes some interesting choices, including firm favourites like Skating Away. Mother Goose, Living in the Past, Aqualung and Locomotive Breath are all well presented with some interesting arrangements. Tie this in with Ian Anderson being a more than capable master of ceremonies with his touches of wry humour and we get a very enjoyable concert experience.
We also get three festive songs from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, and given that this concert was recorded during December 2004 that is understandable. These are lively and clever arrangements of these classics for the orchestra’s involvement again enhances rather than running things.
Overall this is a very nicely packaged release, but it may have been nice to include some extras in the form of further notes or photos included in a booklet, which would help to make it more attractive to the collector or those that have this in the older versions but would like a vinyl copy. That said, the sound quality is very good, matching the quality of the music contained here. One for the fans no doubt, but there is enough enjoyment here to attract the casual and new listener to Jethro Tull’s music. I know I have enjoyed every moment of this album.
01. Eurology (3:30)
02. Calliandra Shade (5:42)
03. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day (4:03)
04. Up the Pool (3:22)
05. We Five (Three) Kings (3:32)
06. Life is A Long Song (3:34)
07. In the Grip of Stronger Stuff (3:03)
01. Wond’ring Aloud (2:05)
02. Griminelli’s Lament (3:10)
03. Cheap Day Return (1:27)
04. Mother Goose (5:46)
05. Bourée (5:15)
06. Boris Dancing (3:31)
07. Living in the Past (4:48)
01. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (4:56)
02. My God (9:03)
03. Aqualung (10:22)
01. Pavane (4:33)
02. Budapest (14:04)
03. Locomotive Breath (6:44)
Total Time – 102:34
Ian Anderson – Flute, Bamboo Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
James Duncan – Drums, Percussion
David Goodier – Bass Guitar, Glockenspiel
John O’Hara – Keyboards, Accordion
Florian Opahle – Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Orchestra – Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt
Kathrin Troester – Flute (soloist)
Astrid Cienia – Oboe (soloist)
Sibylle Wähnert – Bassoon (soloist)
Conductor – John O’Hara
Record Label: Parlophone
Country of Origin: UK
Date of Release: 18th November 2022