In this Jethro Tull Live At Montreux Blu Ray review, I’ll tell why this 2003 concert was one of their best performances ever.
If you’ve never seen Jethro Tull, here is your chance to see them play some of their most well-known songs, pro-shot in high definition audio and video.
No other band has ever duplicated Jethro Tull’s special blend of Folk, Rock, and Jazz!
Read on to learn more.
Jethro Tull – Montreux 2003 Blu-Ray Snapshot
- Recorded: July 2003 Live At Montreux Jazz Festival
- Release Date: 2011
- Concert Length: 1 Hr 57 Min
- Video Format: Widescreen 16×9 (1.78:1)
- Audio: LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Starring: Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, Andrew Giddings, Johnathan Noyce, Doane Perry, and Marsha
- Producers: Claude Nobs and Geoff Kempin
- Director: Thierry Amsallem
Main DVD Disk Menu:
Audio Options: LPCM 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Bonus Features: None
Blu-Ray Packaging: Standard plastic package, Single Disk, with an Informational Booklet
This is Jethro Tull’s only performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The concert was actually divided into two parts. The first half was semi-acoustic and the second half was all-electric.
The band had to rearrange their touring schedule to fit the concert into their itinerary, at the request of Claude Nobs, the founder, director, and general manager of the festival.
The band played the 2003 Jazz Festival in the beautiful Stravinsky Hall, not the Montreux Casino, which was famously burned to the ground during a Frank Zappa concert in 1971. The fire was documented and immortalized by Deep Purple in their hit song “Smoke On The Water.”
Tull performed select songs from their entire catalog, making it a truly memorable event! The show is presented in its entirety on the Blu-Ray disk.
Jethro Tull is the only “Flute-Rock” band to attain international fame. Ian Anderson is an absolute genius, musically and in all other regards.
If you love great guitar playing, Martin Barre is a fabulous musician, and he makes this concert a treat not to be missed! He effortlessly blends Rock and Jazz into his own unique style. In my younger years, I worshiped the sound he got playing his ’59 Les Paul through a vintage Marshal Plexi.
Martin’s playing and sound have evolved over the years but remain instantly recognizable and ever-impressive. He learned guitar without studying the style of other famous players. This approach helped him develop his own voice on the instrument.
This Blu-Ray comes as a single disk with standard plastic packaging. The artwork consists of concert photos with a short description of the concert and the setlist on the rear cover.
The disk is Region-Free, so it will play on any Blu-Ray player.
This concert is also available as a DVD, 2 CDs, and a 2 Vinyl package from Eagle Vision and Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Songs And Artists
|1||“Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You” (Anderson)||4:20|
|2||“Life Is a Long Song” (Anderson)||3:31|
|3||“Bourée” (Instrumental) (Anderson) (Version de Noël)||4:57|
|4||“With You There to Help Me”||6:33|
|5||“Pavane” (Instrumental) (Anderson)||4:28|
|6||“Empty Café” (Instrumental)(Barre, Noyce)||2:37|
|7||“Hunting Girl” (Anderson)||5:30|
|8||“Eurology” (Instrumental) (Anderson, Giddings)||3:39|
|9||“Dot Com” (Anderson)||4:43|
|10||“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (Instrumental) (Anderson)||5:00|
|11||“Fat Man” (Anderson)||5:25|
|12||“Living in the Past” (Anderson)||6:59|
|13||“Nothing Is Easy” (Anderson)||5:09|
|14||“Beside Myself” (Anderson)||6:38|
|15||“My God” (Anderson)||8:30|
|17||“New Jig” (Instrumental) (Giddings, Anderson)||1:27|
|18||“Aqualung” (includes “Band introduction”)||8:02|
|19||(Encore) “Locomotive Breath” (includes “Black Sunday (reprise)”)||8:36|
|20||“Cheerio” (Instrumental) (Anderson)||1:52|
- Ian Anderson – Flute, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, and Vocals
- Martin Barre – Guitar and Flute
- Jonathan Noyce – Bass Guitar
- Andrew Giddings – Keyboards and Accordian
- Doane Perry – Drums
- Masha – Backing Vocals and Dancing
Musical Performance Highlights
Here are some short comments that sum up my thoughts on the following tracks.
Some Day The Sun Won’t Shine For You
From (album): This Was
Jethro Tull opens the show with this very bluesy shuffle. Ian is playing harmonica, which makes the tune sound authentic and awesome!
Life Is A Long Song
From: Aqualung (40th-anniversary edition)
Ian is playing both acoustic guitar and flute. He is a very underrated guitarist. I love his chord voicings.
With You There To Help Me
Ian tells the audience the song requires “backward flute” playing. He begins the song and then turns his back to the audience, who graciously laughs. His flute lines will blow you away!
From: The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
This is a song from their Christmas album. It is played in the Flamenco style with Martin on acoustic guitar. It really demonstrates how versatile this band is!
From: Songs from the Wood
This is a very upbeat piece, with Martin banging out distorted power chords in the true Jethro Tull style! There is a spectacular musical interplay between Andrew Giddings on the keyboard and Martin Barre on the electric guitar.
From: J-Tull Dot Com
This is a very unusual tune in which Ian plays the Indian Bamboo Flute while “Masha”, his special guest, sings backup vocals and dances. I love the sound he gets out of this instrument, so light and airy.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
From: The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
This is another song from their Christmas album. It’s rearranged as a very up-tempo “Folk-Jazz” piece. Very inventive and typical of Jethro Tull.
Nothing Is Easy
From: Stand Up
This song features a very entertaining flute and electric guitar interplay between Ian and Martin’s notably staccato lines. It’s “typically Tull.”
From: Roots to Branches
A bit of a sad song with Ian playing acoustic guitar while Martin superimposes catchy electric guitar licks.
From: Living with the Past (DVD only)
Presented in a somewhat too-short format, this lively jig makes you want to hear more, but I think it’s there as an audience “attention-grabber.”
From: The Broadsword and the Beast
Another short bit of a pre-recorded piece that plays after the encore. Ian bounces two giant white balloons into the audience that have his image on them and they get tossed around while the band takes its bows.
Interviews And Backstage Footage
Unfortunately, there is no video of band interviews or backstage footage included on this Blu-Ray.
There is a short narrative by Ian Anderson on the front cover of the Blu-Ray booklet that gives a history of the events leading up to the concert.
The stage is simple and well-lit with high-definition video cameras placed out of the viewer’s sight. There are no special effects. The focus is always on what’s happening musically.
This is a listing of the guitars, amplifiers, and effects that various band members used during the show. I obtained this information visually while watching the video and through Internet research. I always strive to make this list as accurate as possible.
If you disagree or have something to add that makes it more accurate or complete, I would appreciate it if you would put that info in the comment section at the end of this article. I will correct and/or update it immediately!?
- Acoustic – A 3/4 size “parlor guitar” with a freakishly skinny body, apparently inspired by an antique French design and made by luthier Andrew Mason. This is not the American made Martin 0-16NY small bodied parlor guitar, which Ian has famously played over the years. For more info on parlor guitars see The Best Couch Guitar – Relaxing, And Effortless To Play!
- Effects – Ian has an Ibanez PUE5 hybrid (analog and digital) multi-effects stompbox on the floor. He may have been using it on his guitar and flute for particular songs.
- Electric – Two American-made Fender “Fat Strat” guitars with dual humbucker pickups.
- Acoustic – It looks like he is playing a Taylor 6 string acoustic but I can’t recognize the model. Also a blond Gibson semi-acosutic “student” guitar?
- Ampllifiers – It appears that Martin us using a stereo setup with two Soldano SLO-100 Super Lead Overdrive 100W Tube Amp Heads powering two Marshall 1922 (2×12) cabinets.
- Effects – None that I could see, in terms of stompboxes or pedal boards on the floor. He did have two effects racks with a digital tuner and various non-identified items.
- Bass Guitar – It seems that Jonathan is playing a Wal MB5 5-string bass. It was very difficult to get a clear view of his guitar during the concert.
- Amplifier – A SWR SM900 amp into a Henry 8×8 (eight 8-inch speakers in pairs) cabinet.
Audio Specs And Sound Quality
The concert is recorded in:
- LPCM 2.0 Stereo
- Dolby Digital 5.1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
The audio quality is professionally recorded, with good to excellent audio imaging, depending on your sound system.
Television speakers sound best using the stereo channel.
If you have a soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer then try both the Dolby Digital and DTS channels to see which work best for you.
The DTS high-definition channel will definitely give you the best sound imaging if you have a home theater (5.1, 7.1, or 7.1.4 Atmos) setup.
Video Specs And Camera-Shot Quality
The video is recorded in Widescreen with a 16×9 (1.78:1)aspect ratio.
The concert is pro-shot, as you might expect it to be. Overall video brightness and contrast are excellent with minimal graininess.
All of Martin Barre’s guitar solos are captured in their entirety, without inappropriate break-away to other musicians. His hands are filmed to clearly show his technique, which is what guitar players really want to see.
My Favorite Songs And Musical Moments
These are the songs I enjoyed most in the show for various reasons. The entire setlist is awesome, as is always the case at a Jethro Tull concert.
Bouree (Version de Noel)
From (album): Stand Up, and The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
This Jazz arrangement of Bach’s Bouree is one of my favorite Jethro Tull tunes. Done, as is traditional, in the key of D, the band really makes it swing while retaining the essence of what makes the tune a classical masterpiece.
From: Live at Montreux 2003
This all-instrumental tune features Martin, who wrote in while eating alone. Martin plays it acoustically in a Jazz-BeBoop arrangement. He pulls off some nicely-voiced arpeggios very quickly and precisely. It’s great fun to hear.
From: Live at Montreux 2003
“Ol’ European” sights, sounds, and traditions inspired Ian to write Eurology. It has a very unique musical structure, written in the key of G in alternating bars of 9/8 and 7/8. Andrew Giddings plays what Ian calls “the instrument from hell,” the German piano accordion.
From: Stand Up
This is a lovely acoustic piece that is a little musically “twisted.” Ian begins the song on the mandolin while Martin plays the flute. The two switch back and forth playing the flute with Maritn also playing electric guitar. Andrew adds the accordion in the background to round out the score.
Living In The Past
From: Living in the Past
This is another one of my favorite tunes that opens with the sinister “Aqualung” riff followed by the usual iconic bass line that everyone expects. Martin plays bold distorted power cords in this wonderfully electric version.
This song begins with an iconic acoustic guitar opening, played by Ian. My God also features one of the best flute solos he has ever played, which is wonderfully staccato. Anderson’s mastery of both instruments is obvious.
From: Crest of a Knave
Budapest is the longest song of the concert and is often prone to re-arrangement. It is played in the key of D, which I think really helps give it a special musical texture. You can’t help but notice how much it sounds like a Dire Straits tune.
Aqualung is an al-time classic. I can’t imagine it being omitted from the setlist of a Jethro Tull concert! The song is played around a very original and dissonant riff that makes it immediately recognizable. Martin always pulls off a great guitar solo.
This is the band’s “encore” song. It’s a real high-energy rocker that begins with a well-known keyboard part. Before the band comes back on stage to perform it, Ian gives the audience a humorous explanation of what an encore actually is.
What You Might Not Like
There’s not really much to dislike about this concert video, but here are a few things you might consider.
No Backstage Footage
I really like watching backstage concert footage. It really adds to the enjoyment of the video and can give you a better idea of what particular equipment was used in the show.
No Band Interviews
Band interviews can offer insight into problems that occurred during the production, performance, and filming of the concert. It’s great to get inside info directly from your favorite players and it’s one of the first things any true fan looks for in a music video.
DTS-HD Mix Is Not Ideal
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix was generally well-done but not optimal.
On my Bose 5.1 surround system, the rear channels had mostly percussive sounds throughout the show.
Playing the video on my 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos/DTS-X theater system demonstrated a weak side surround channel response, although to be fair, this was not a 7.1 mix.
Beware Of Poorly Recorded Copies
There are a fair number of pirated or bootleg copies of this video available for purchase on various websites.
The video and audio are typically substandard, and in some cases too poorly done to be worth a look and listen.
Also, it is illegal to purchase these copies and it could cheat the performers out of well-deserved income.
Is This Concert Worth Purchasing Or Streaming?
Every tune on Jethro Tull’s 2003 Montreux performance is musically excellent.
The concert contains a variety of songs that span their entire career.
The video is pro-shot and the audio is well mixed. For an especially enjoyable experience, purchase it on Blu-Ray or stream it in high-definition.
If you like Jethro Tull then seeing this concert is a no-brainer and you will most likely view it again and again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most popular questions and facts about Jethro Tull.
Is Jethro Tull An Actual Person’s Name (AKA Who Is Jethro Tull)?
Jethro Tull was an 18th century Englishman who invented the seed drill. It was one of many names that the band assumed during their early years.
Does Martin Barre Have A Solo Album?
Martin released a solo album called “Roads Less Travelled,” in October 2018. It contains 11 songs and represents the culmination of over 50 years of guitar playing.
Did Tony Iommi Ever Play Guitar For Jethro Tull?
Tony Iommi played guitar on “A Song For Jeffrey” for one time only during his two-week tenure with Tull. The song appears on the “Rolling Stones Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus,” recorded on December 11th, 1968. It was a concert produced by The Stones that featured a variety of other bands, as well.
Final Thoughts On The Jethro Tull Live At Montreux Blu Ray
Jethro Tull is a one-of-a-kind band. No other band has been able to capture their sound or the breath of their musical repertoire.
They play Rock, Folk, Jazz, Classical, and everything in between; all with the omnipresent and ever-enticing sound of the flute.
Tull’s only Montreux appearance captures one of their best performances. Fortunately, it is well-recorded and still available. I wish I could have seen this show live but this video features the entire setlist, which is a fitting and lasting testimony to a career that has spanned decades.
Martin Barre is an extraordinary guitar player and Ian Anderson is a mind-boggling multi-instrumentalist and all-around genius!
I was truly privileged to grow up listening to their music. You won’t see their kind again.
Tell Me What You Think
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, have any questions about this video, or want to give your own critique of the concert.
I will be happy to help you.
- Have you seen this video before? What do you think of the setlist, and audio/video quality?
- Which musician do you like best?
- Do you have a favorite Jethro Tull video? Which one and why?
- Would you buy this Jethro Tull Montreux 2003 video after reading this review?