As I make my way through the Jethro Tull catalogue, I am reviewing this album a little out of order as it was released between Heavy Horses and Stormwatch.I do this because it provides a fitting conclusion to the first part of Tull’s career. The 1980s would find a far different group both in terms of sound and personnel.
Bursting Out remains one of the better live albums of its era. It also provides a better retrospective of their first ten years than any of their greatest hits or compilation albums at the time.
The album is not one live concert but rather each track is taken from a different show. While it has an excellent live feel, the songs do not flow into each other and should be taken individually rather than as a collective whole. I am reviewing my original two disc vinyl LP but beware as some of the early CD releases eliminated certain tracks which diminished the appeal and impact of the album.
It is fitting the group’s classic line-up is featured on this release. Leader Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre, keyboardist John Evan, drummer Barriemore Barlow, keyboardist David Palmer, and bassist John Glascock are the musicians listed and represent the best of the Jethro Tull line-ups.
The first two tracks, “No Lullaby” and “Sweet Dream” get the album off to a thunderous beginning courtesy of Martin Barre and his guitar. At the other end of the album is an elongated “Aqualung” with a lot of improvisation on the bride between the chorus’ and a hard rock version of “Locomotive Breath” which finds the group moving toward their sound of the future.
In between there are a number of fine performances. The twelve and a half minute rendition of Thick As A Brick is preferable to the forty minute album version and is this piece of music at its finest. The middle acoustic section is highlighted by “Songs From The Wood.” “A New Yesterday” from Stand Up is given a nice bluesy work-out. There are also definitive live versions of “Cross Eyed Mary,” “Jack In The Green,” and “Skating Away On The Thin Ice of A New Day.”
Most of the songs that helped to make them one of the better and unique rock groups of their generation are presented here. Bursting Out remains Jethro Tull at their live best.