Review Summary: The eighties was a lean period for both the band and their fans but this live release demonstrates that Jethro Tull were still a force to be reckoned with on stage.
Jethro Tull's flirtation with electronic music in the mid-80's didn't exactly go down very well with their fan-base. Neither did it earn them any plaudits within the music industry at large. Their 1984 release 'Under Wraps', while not being quite as awful as generally perceived, was a limp and uninspiring affair with very little in the way of memorable tunes or any real experimentation. However, as a live band Jethro Tull were still as compelling as ever and even though this rather short album contains two tracks from that much maligned album there is plenty of classic material on offer to get your teeth into.
Proceedings get underway with a forceful instrumental rendition of 'Locomotive Breath' which segues neatly into an absolutely electric version of 'Hunting Girl'. This is immediate and driving and totally unlike the rather sedate original. Martin Barre's electric guitar is forward in the mix and his heavy riffing (by Jethro Tull standards) propels the song along in fine style. The two tracks on here that represent their latest release at the time, the aforementioned 'Under Wraps', are the title track, which receives some much needed muscle, and that particular album's standout song 'Later That Same Evening'. Album highlight is undoubtedly a superb rendition of 'Pussy Willow' which feels much more organic and joyful than it's rather cold studio counterpart. Barre is let loose again on a storming version of the fan favourite 'Locomotive Breath' and, as this live album shows in general, Tull certainly knew how to rock out in a live setting which is rather at odds with their softer folk-rock leanings.
Eighties flavored Jethro Tull is not usually something that even a die-hard fan would care to sample too often. Misguided experiments in electronics coupled with studio recordings which were largely devoid of warmth and charm typify their efforts throughout that period. However, this album ably demonstrates that the band were still alive and kicking on stage and is a worthy addition to the collection of any Jethro Tull fan.