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Jethro Tull

Live - Bursting Out

Review by Larry Toering

Recorded from various locations throughout Europe, on the 1978 Heavy Horses tour, Jethro Tull came up with a vibrant recording, and this 2004 remaster contains a vastly improved sound to bring it up to date. This has gone by several titles, including Bursting Out: Jethro Tull Live, Bursting Out - Live, and Live – Bursting Out. There are even copies under the name Busting Out, but that was just a misspelling on the binding of the vinyl edition, which was retracted. Here everything is corrected and titled simply, Jethro Tull – Live – Bursting Out. It contains some smoking hot versions of some of their most well known numbers, and a few newer tracks at the time of recording.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
(Introduction by Claude Nobs)

Spoken in his native language, Claude Nobs introduces them with "herzlich willkommen in Festhalle Bern” “ -which translates in English as: “welcome to the festival of Bern.”

No Lullaby

There is a chunky guitar riff matched equally by Ian Anderson's flute, before Martin Barre attacks with a vicious bite. It all quiets down soon with some fine flute, and then yet more guitar manages to carry the tune until it comes full circle with a blistering solo. I love all of the interplay here, as they bludgeon the audience with their virtuosity. Everything comes to an unexpected, quiet close, and the crowd bursts into applause.

Sweet Dream

This track has more of a prodding approach, musically, but Anderson manages to command the entire band with his amazing vocals and occasional flute flurries. Over the years I have grown more and more fond of it, thanks to this great version, but it took a while to grow in order to get to this place. So I've noticed that it takes a live version such as this to fully appreciate this great tune.

Skating Away on the Thin Ice of A New Day

This is one of my favorite Tull tracks, always has been, always will be. Anderson introduces the band before they go into a seamless version of this fine little gem. An outstanding version it is, indeed.

Jack In the Green

This is a fan favorite track, and here it only serves as an even better experience to listen to live. Anderson goes into full majestic mode here, and it's a fascinating performance. Tracks like this really bring out the prog in Tull.

One Brown Mouse

There is a lovely acoustic motif here from Barre. Then Anderson wastes no time in taking over the arrangement with a narrative vocal, as he tells this fine little tale in his inimitable style. It really is a joy to kick back and listen to this folk heavy gem. Talk about tea and a smile, this is worth a toast.

A New Day Yesterday

This begins with Anderson going into aggro mode, and staying the course. Still, it's embellished with an overall positive vibe, as Barre makes his way to one hell of a guitar solo. He takes it into full on prog with several changes in tempo without losing the groove. It’s a masterstroke!

Flute SoloImprovisation – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Bouree

The previous track ends with this amazing flute solo, as Anderson, both minstrel and menace, dazzles the crowd with his flute stylings, with everything from hard blows with vocal bits thrown in, to soft whispering melodies. This is how a Tull performance really mesmerizes an audience.

Songs From The Wood

This is one of my favorite tracks, from probably my favorite Tull album, so naturally I love this rendition. They pull it all off so perfectly. It’s well done, and then some. Brief, but to the point, it rarely gets better than this, if a bit less improvised than most of the tracks in the set.

The Dambusters March

There’s no stopping the intensity on this killer instrumental, as a top performance is achieved by all involved. I love how the line from “Aqualung” is added at the end, in a ca classic Anderson touch.

Thick As A Brick

It was especially interesting at the time to hear how this great tune progressed in the shows by  It never bores, and keeps the interest intact all the way. All in all it's a great version, and so much easier to listen to in a live setting. This closes out disc one in classic fashion.

Disc 2
(Introduction by Ian Anderson)
This time a humorous introduction from Anderson graces the crowd, as he springs the next track upon the exuberant crowd.
Hunting Girl

This is so awesome it sends a shiver up the spine every time I listen, as it's full of all kinds of tempo changes between Barre's striking guitar and Anderson's swirling flute parts. There’s a crazy little slice heaviness here, with occasional flashes of lightness as well. This is a perfectly balanced performance.

Too Old To Rock 'n Roll, Too Young To Die

There are some great versions of this, I know, but as for live versions this takes the cake for me. After the last track I always enjoy how they go into this and pull off a killer rendition.


Here they go, into full on prog again with this amazing instrumental, complete with a fabulous drum solo from Barriemore Barlow, in his latter days with the band. This is one of my favorite Tull tunes, and here it is presented at its very best. It contains all of the finest prog approaches to their folk heavy rock, and threatens to go into an even harder category, as well.

Minstrel in the Gallery

Now this has always been of the harder rock variety, and here it is performed with a particular vengeance, and it's absolutely brilliant, as the proceedings begin to flow on the downside of the recording and make its way to a close. This is probably as close to a peak spot as they come.

Cross Eyed Mary

This is a storming version, if a bit brief, as they slam though one of their most well-known numbers with a fury often unmatched, before or since 1978. It’s a great version, that is one thing I'm sure of.


Here we have another slice of prog heaven, on this fine instrumental, with a more organ drenched instrumental. It still has an infectious guitar attack. It’s a great way to fly into the next track.


This is, of course, just about Tull’s most popular song, and they swing it up here like only they can. Even though they threaten to go off the charts in the faster sections, the slower sections tend to dominate the whole performance, in their fight for contrast. They really brought it here, as there is no way for me to pass on this, in the process of taking it all in at once. It’s fantastic!

Locomotive Breath

They know how to save the best for last, with my all time favorite Tull track, and they delivered it with their ultimate swinging approach from the studio to the stage. I can't think of any better way to end a live Tull experience, and this track really goes to show why they were one of the best bands of the 70s.

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