Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson-Thick as a Brick: Live in Iceland (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 29-Aug-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Interviews-Cast-Interview with Ian Anderson (14:16)
Music Video-Ian Anderson & Claude Nobs Workshop (9:32)
More…-Live at Montreux 2012 (7:12)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 114:04 (Case: 144)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bjorn Emilsson
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Ian Anderson
John O’Hara
David Goodier
Florian Opahle
Scott Hammond
Ryan O’Donnell
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Ian Anderson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Spanish
French
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In 1972 Jethro Tull released the concept album Thick As A Brick which, in one continuous track spread over two sides of the LP, tells the story of a young boy with “issues” named Gerald Bostock. “Concept” albums were somewhat of a rage around that time with such as Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Mike Oldfield and of course The Who all having a go. Forty years later Jethro Tull founder and frontman Ian Anderson went on a tour performing Thick As A Brick together with a new album Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?. In the interview on this Blu-ray Ian Anderson explains that this performance of Thick As A Brick sticks very closely to the original arrangements and uses the same instruments as the original recording; the song cycle has not been updated or modernised. I guess the updating is Thick As A Brick 2. The new album postulates five alternate scenarios for Gerald 40 years after the events of the first album: an investment banker, a homeless homosexual, a soldier and war veteran, an evangelist preacher and the owner of a small suburban corner shop.

     This Blu-ray, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – Thick As A Brick – Live in Iceland to give it the full title as displayed on the cover, is of the concert performance in Reykjavik, Iceland in June 2012. The performers are:

     First off a couple of confessions. I have been a fan of the music of Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson for more decades than I would care to acknowledge, and even saw them a couple of times when they performed in Sydney all those years ago. On the other hand, Thick As A Brick is not one of my favourite Jethro Tull albums. Despite being very popular at the time, and achieving # 1 in the US, to me the concept was just too weighty; the album was frenetic but seemed to lack the liveliness and light touch evident in the best of Jethro Tull such as Aqualung, the magnificent album that immediately preceded Thick As A Brick. So I came to this concert with some reservations. However, it is good to see some things do not change at Ian Anderson concerts: for over 40 years they start with the band in dust coats walking around the stage, and the performances are still interrupted by phone calls!

     It was good to revisit Thick As A Brick, although my opinion of the material did not really alter. While Anderson did say that this performance of Thick As A Brick sticks very closely to the arrangements and instruments as the original recording, there is one fundamental variation. Not surprisingly Anderson’s vocal range has deteriorated in the 40 years since Thick As A Brick, so Ryan O’Donnell has been added to sing in a number of sections where Anderson struggles but also to sing to allow Anderson to play his trademark flute parts. And despite his age, he still can still play a mean tune while standing on one leg.

     The rest of the band performed tightly, but did seem more at home with the new material of Thick As A Brick 2. The songs in Thick As A Brick 2 were thematically aligned with the first album, although the pace of the music was more measured. That was not a bad thing and Thick As A Brick 2 contained some excellent Ian Anderson songs including Banker Bets, Banker Wins and Kismet In Surburbia although to me the standout was the classic Tull sound of A Change of Horses with Anderson’s flute in full flight and a guitar part which, and no disrespect to Florian Opahle, I can visualise a rampant Martin Barre.

     I did enjoy revisiting Thick As A Brick with Ian Anderson. Age may have dimmed him a bit, but he is still going strong, thank goodness. Time to pull out a few old, classic, Jethro Tull albums!

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Track Listing

1. Thick As A Brick
2. From A Pebble Thrown
3. Pebbles Instrumental
4. Might Have Beens
5. Upper Sixth Loan Shark
6. Banker Bets, Banker Wins
7. Swing It Far
8. Adrift And Dumbfounded
9. Old School Song
10. Wootton Bassett Town
11. Power And Spirit
12. Give Til It Hurts
13. Cosy Corner
14. Shunt And Shuffle
15. A Change Of Horses
16. Confessional
17. Kismet In Surburbia
18. What-ifs, Maybes & Might-Have-Beens

Transfer Quality

Video

    Thick As A Brick – Live in Iceland is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The Blu-ray cover noted that the Blu-ray “presents upscaled standard definition original”.

     Given the SD origins this concert looks pretty good. There are very few audience shots as the cameras concentrate upon the stage and the band. Although there is some softness in wider shots, close-ups of the band are good and colours bright and rich. There is occasional lens flare and some mild out of focus moments but nothing serious and no obvious artefacts. Blacks are solid, grain under control.

     English, German, Spanish and French subtitles are provided.

    A pleasing presentation of the concert.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English DTS-MA HD 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0.

     This is an interesting choice. The default audio is the LPCM 2.0 which is surround encoded, and this is one case where to me the LPCM 2.0 seemed superior to the DTS-MA HD 5.1. That DTS-MA HD 5.1 mix had louder drums and organ from the rears and seemed to reverberate more, thus making the vocals harder to hear clearly. In contrast, the vocals in the LPCM 2.0 track were cleaner, and the whole sound stage seemed clearer and sharper. The sub-woofer use on both tracks was appropriate.

     Crowd noise was minimal, but when it occurred it was in the rear speakers.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Interview with Ian Anderson (14:16)

     Ian Anderson is interviewed in Iceland in 2012 during the Thick As A Brick concert tour. There is some video footage of Anderson seeing the sights plus a little behind the scenes footage, but mostly this is a very engaging Anderson talking about concept albums, performances, his flutes, and why this is not a Jethro Tull concert tour.

Ian Anderson & Claude Nobs Workshop: “Someday the Sun Won’t Shine for You” (9:32)

     Claude Nobs was the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival. This is a side session at the 2012 festival with lots of improvisation and fun being had by all. Tragically Nobs passed away later that year.

Live at Montreux 2012: “Upper Sixth Loan Shark” and “Banker Bets, Banker Wins” (7:12)

     Two songs from Thick As A Brick 2 performed by Anderson and the band at Montreux in 2012.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US and Region B Blu-rays are identical to our release.

Summary

     I did enjoy revisiting Thick As A Brick with Ian Anderson. Age may have dimmed him a bit, but he is still going strong. Fans will not be disappointed.

     The video and audio are good. The extras are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 08, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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