A Passion Play

An Extended Performance

WarChild

The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition

Jethro Tull

There is no question that 2014 will go down as a banner year for Jethro Tull fans. Aside from Ian Anderson’s continued forays into the solo realm with Homo Erraticus and Thick As A Brick 2, the real meat and potatoes are in the multi-disc sets of A Passion Play (1973) and WarChild (1974). Both sets feature two CDs and two DVDs in case-bound books, filled with photos and extensive liner notes. For fans of the Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Evan, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond and Barrie Barlow lineup, arguably one of the more progressive eras in the band’s history, then brace yourself for a slew of extras and new Steve Wilson mixes that will stir your aural senses to new heights of euphoria.

A Passion Play - An Extended Performance includes the original album and the famed and abandoned Château d'Hérouville sessions, in stereo (on the CDs), and additional 5.1 DTS, AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and PCM 96/24 PCM stereo mixes on the DVDs. The first DVD also has video clips of “The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles,” plus intro and outro film used in the Passion Play tour of 1973. Not only is A Passion Play presented here in its most optimum state, as a progressive opus of its kind should be, but the sessions that preceded it at the 18th century Château d'Hérouville near Paris, France have finally seen the light. A flurry of technical problems, accommodations and illness blighted the recordings, forcing the band to retreat elsewhere and fast-track A Passion Play to completion. This is essentially a whole other album that slides through the canal with the greatest of ease.

Coming a mere four months later, WarChild - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition adds 10 orchestrated pieces and “the Second Act” of 11 bonus tracks. All these extras were intended for a feature-length movie, a soundtrack album, and a new Jethro Tull album. As Ian Anderson explains in the liner notes, trying to sell the idea of WarChild as a black comedy film with religious overtones was met with resistance. The album , however, went to #2 on the Billboard charts and feature the Top 40 single "Bungle in the Jungle," plus the classic Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day." Tull shine as a strong-arm unit on others like "Back-Door Angels," "SeaLion" and "The Third Hoorah." The new Theatre Edition has a trio of unreleased recordings: "Tomorrow Was Today," "Good Godmother," and an arrangement of "WarChild" recorded after the version on the final album. It will be more than a happy holiday if you give A Passion Play - An Extended Performance and WarChild - The 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition to your local Tullhead.

~ Shawn Perry

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