~ Live - Bursting Out ~


An introduction to
"Live - Bursting Out"

Only five months after the release of "Heavy Horses", Jethro Tull released their magnificent live double album many fans had been desperately waiting for for so long. The only official live recordings were until then part of the "Living In The Past" double album, released in 1972, containing two tracks from the Carnegie Hall benefit concert in New York in October 1970. But the band went through an immense evolution in the following years. Needless to say that there was a great hunt for bootleg live material among us, the fans....

They were catered for in 1978, when the band was 'in action' for 10 years under the name of Jethro Tull and released this double album. In at least two ways this double album is a remarkable one. First of all it portrays Tull in the hayday of their "classic" and very productive period, when they were a six piece band: two keyboard players (David Palmer and John Evans), a versatile lead and acoustic guitar player (Martin Barre), one of their best bass players ever (John Glasscock), a very talented and 'passionate' percussionist (Barrie Barlow) and the perfectionist, flute- and guitar player, front man, composer, lyricist and vocalist Ian Anderson. They had just released two of their - creatively speaking - greatest albums: "Songs From The Wood" and "Heavy Horses" and were in a way pregnant of "Stormwatch", the third one of this 'folky' trilogy, which was to be released the following year.

Jethro Tull in the "Bursting Out"days, early 1978.

Secondly, the double album portrays the band as the remarkable live act, which they were famous for, both then and now. It;s not surprising that every gig was a sell out and still is up to now. Ian's humoristic stage banter, his teasingly 'toying' with the other band members, his way of 'settling' the audience e.g. when acoustic songs are announced. What I particularly find remarkable about this album is that it shows us the ability of the band to combine their sturdy rock song with the sweet and warm acoustic ones and the sheer enthousiams of playing before an audience. The atmosphere of the gigs as I recall them is perfectly reflected in the tracks the band chose for this album.

"Bursting Out" programme, North American tour (1978).
By kind permission of Pete McHugh
(Electrocutas - The Jethro Tull Archive).

David Rees quotes Ian Anderson, who considered the album as a landmark: "The end of an era, and of course the start of a new one. We have gone as far as we can with the styles of music we've been playing so far. I think we will be moving in different directions from now on" (1). Well, they did as "A", "Walk Into Light" and "Under Wraps" would show us in the years to come.

All recordings were made during the tours of 1977 - 1978 in different European countries, though up to now I haven't found out which song was recording where. Andy Jackson informs me as follows: "As to when and where the Bursting Out tracks were recorded, I think there MIGHT be some very general information in the Melody Maker article I posted in the Steakhouse Tidbits section. Ian was talking to Chris Welch after the gig at the Berlin Deutschlandhalle (18.5.78), and mentioned that they had been taping concerts "for the past couple of nights".  The reference to Berne by Claude Nobbs (on the album) would refer to the gig on 28.5.78 at the Festhalle there. So I guess the recordings were made throughout the German and Swiss concerts in May that year.

They used the Maison Rouge Mobile studio, that since the "Minstrel In The Gallery" had proved to be a reliable set of tools while recording on the road, delivering us one of the best live albums ever made by a rock band. "Bursting Out": indeed it was, definitely.
* Jan Voorbij; 1) David Rees "Minstrel in the gallery, a history of Jethro tull",Firefly Pubishing, Wembley, UK (1998)

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I just read your very interesting annotations to this record and noticed your following words: "up to now I haven't found out which song was recorded where". Maybe I can help you a little bit according to this question:

I'd been (together with some friends) "physically" present in the audience at the Tull-concert in the Saarlandhalle, Saarbruecken, Germany, on May 26 1978. Not far away from Saarbrücken were (and still are) some American military bases (Zweibrücken, 
Kaiserslautern, Ramstein airbase). Therefore always a lot of GI's came to the different concerts in this area as well to this particular Jethro Tull concert.

I remember the day (in 1978 or 1979) when I listened to the album for the first time after it had been released. I immediately recognized Ian Andersons words he had said during the concert in Saarbrücken "Better sit down for the next one, I think. There seems to be a large percentage of young American boys out there tonight, hey?", which can be heard between 
track 2 and 3. My friends did so, too (all of us were sure about that).

With these words Ian calmed the huge roaming crowd of (mostly drunk or stoned) American soldiers in a very psycological and pleasant way. Before that, they had been jumping around in front of the stage (we could hardly see the band), bugging all the others (and the band too), who wanted to listen to the relative soft acoustic songs in this early concert phase.
So what I want to tell you: These words between track 2 and 3 were definitely said at the concert in Saarbruecken! I'm sure. For me and my friends over all those years "Bursting out" has always been the album, which includes songs we definetely had heard live that night.

* Lothar Hussong

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The Dambusters March

  • The Dambusters March was composed by the contemporary English composer Eric Coates in 1954 for the film "The Dambusters" (1956) to commemorate Bomber Command's 1943 air raid against the dams in the Eder, Sorpe and Möhne rivers. Breaking these dams would flood a large part of the Ruhr area which would obstruct the war-production in the many factories over there. For that purpose Barnes Wallis, the engineer who invented the geodetic construction of the Wellington bomber, developed a rotating bomb that would bounce on the surface of these rivers, breaking the dams at collision. A special version of the Lancaster bomber was built, one that would be able to carry and deliver it.

* The special version of the Lancaster Mk. II bomber, photographed during trials. Note that the dorsal turret was removed to increase payload and the bomb-bay was adjusted to carry the rotating bomb and its delivery device. (Source: "Partworks and encyclopedia of World War II", E. Bauer, London, 1978)

  • A special squadron (nr. 617) was composed of the best of the RAF's navigators, bomb aimers and pilots under the command of Guy Gibson. After months of testing and training this squadron leader led the raid against the dams. In spite of all the efforts the mission was only partly successful: the Möhne dam collapsed, the others were slightly damaged. And though the overall damage was great, within 3 months the production in the Ruhr area was back to 80% of before the raid. Many of the casualties were Russian, French and Dutch prisoners of war who were forced to work in these factories. The squadron suffered many casualties: half of the bombers and their crews did not make it home. Beside the tactical objectives, this raid was very important for propaganda reasons: their was much political pressure on the staff of Bomber Command, because of the lack of results in comparison to the high losses suffered. Apart from that, Bomber Command needed new recruits to man the growing number of bombers. Guy Gibson, lateron became a fighter pilot. He was killed in his Spitfire in 1944 over the continent. There is more information on Bomber Command Raids.
    * Jan Voorbij, Luud de Brouwer

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Updated: April 4 2004

© Jan Voorbij (1998-2009)