Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson: Thick As A Brick – Live In Iceland (Blu-ray Review)

Thick as a BrickJethro Tull’s famous concept album ‘Thick As A Brick’ was originally released in 1972 and featured one continuous track spread across two sides of an LP telling the story of a young boy called Gerald Bostock. 40 years later in 2012, Jethro Tull’s founder and leader Ian Anderson created ‘Thick As A Brick’ 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock? . Following this release Ian Anderson took both albums on the road to perform the complete story of Gerald Bostock and this concert from the tour was filmed in Iceland. The show combines music, video screens and mime to bring Gerald s tale to life as never before and create the definitive presentation of ‘Thick As A Brick’. 

Thick As A Brick


Okay, let me preface this review by saying that in all of my years as a music fan I have never owned or listened to a Jethro Tull record. I knew very little (and still do) about Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson. The only smattering of knowledge that I know about the band comes from my knowledge of pop-culture and whatever randomness I picked up along the way. I know that Jethro Tull has a lead singer that plays the flute and is damn good at it. I know Jethro Tull pulled a major upset over Metallica by winning a Grammy for best hard rock album back in 1989. I also know that their early album entitled Thick As A Brick was ONE entire song split into two halves on the LP.

Fast forward about 42 years or so and the sequel to that album is here and it is Thick As A Brick 2 featuring Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and his band. This Blu-ray disc features a double whammy of sorts as it has the full performance of Thick As A Brick 1 and Thick As A Brock 2 performed in their entirety for a captive audience in Iceland. Ian Anderson and company do a stellar job of performing as they integrate mime, multimedia, props, satire, comedy, etc., for a very unique concert presentation. I’d wager that if you were present at the show you very well got your money’s worth.

Since I have to be impartial and review this honestly I will say that I am not entirely a fan even though I get what they’re going for but I am able to appreciate an eclectic performance. Ian Anderson is a very charming individual and is quite hilarious in his performance; dialogue with the audience, and in the various video presentations during the video segments. Those media segments come off very Monty Python-esque and I like it.

I’m going to go on assumption that if you’re an Ian Anderson-Jethro Tull fan than this is required viewing and owning. I should also point out that this is one of the first SD Blu-rays released by Eagle Rock. It’s basically an unconverted Blu-ray, which is sort of lame, but makes me think that the source material may have been shot in SD. I’ll talk more about it in the video section.

Set List

Part 1

Thick As A Brick

Part 2

Thick As A Brick 2:

From A Pebble Thrown

Pebbles Instrumental

Might Have Beens

Upper Sixth Loan Shark

Banker Bets, Banker Wins

Swing It Far

Adrift And Dumbfounded

Old School Song

Wootton Bassett Town

Power And Spirit

Give Til It Hurts

Cosy Corner

Shunt And Shuffle

A Change Of Horses


Kismet In Suburbua

What-ifs, Maybes And Might-Have-Beens

Ian Anderson - Thick As A Brick


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080i upscaled from an SD source

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: This isn’t the best video presentation of concert that I have ever seen but considering the source limitations it doesn’t transfer too well into high definition, because it’s origins are in the SD realm.

Depth: Depth is rather lacking and when the show switches to the media videos on the screen – they tend to look really bad – almost of VHS quality.

Black Levels: Black levels are okay but seem rather washed out on stage. It may have something to do with the rear-projection screen that drapes the back of the band.

Color Reproduction: Color separation is fine and really livens up when the stage lighting hits in full swing.

Flesh Tones: Ian Anderson and company look spry and fit.

Noise/Artifacts: There’s a tad bit of debris and artifacts that make their presence know especially during the media segments. It is what is.

 Thick As A Brick-Ian Anderson


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD MA 5.1 (96 kHz/24-bit), LPCM Stereo (96 kHz/24-bit)

Subtitles: (interview only) English, Deutsch, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Say what you will about the video presentation or the band and music themselves but this 24-bit lossless audio presentation is pretty stellar! Vocals, music, and effects are clearly defined and separated as to not get all jumbled up. It’s amazing stuff.

Low Frequency Extension: The low-end bass levels are great and really kick up the bass guitar and synth tracks up a bit.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience is tapered and you can hear the crowd in the background only when they need to be heard and that’s usually when they laugh ant Ian Anderson’s antics that involve folks from the audience and such.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crystal clear.

Jethro Tull


Included on this Blu-ray are an interview with Ian Anderson, a music workshop with Ian Anderson and Montreux Jazz Festival founder, the late Claude Nobs, and a small snippet from their show at Montreux from 2012. Not a bad serving of extras at all.

  • Interview with Ian Anderson  (14:16, HD) – This is a very cool and in-depth interview with Ian Anderson as the explains Thick As A Brick 2 and his affinity for Iceland having performed here more than any other band out there. I have not conformed this as true but Ian Anderson has been to Iceland on vacation and on tour several times over the years.
  • Ian Anderson & Claude Nobs Workshop: “Someday The Sun Won’t Shine For You” (9:32, HD) – Here’s a cool jam featuring Ian Anderson and Claude Nobs. Sadly, Claude passed away several months later.
  • Live At Montreux 2012: “Upper Sixth Loan Shark” & “Banker Bets, Banker Wins” (7:12, HD) – These are actually my favorite tracks from the main show and they are presented here in a short snippet taken from Montreux 2012.

Ian Anderson


Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson are not my cup of tea but watching this live performance has peaked my curiosity of the band what they’ve brought to the music world for almost 45 years. I may have to track down that album that they beat Metallica with back in ’89 just to see how hard that album rocked. I do admire Anderson’s enthusiasm for his art and appreciate that his musical style is very genre bending. He and Tull cannot be singularly categorized. I like that.


Order Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson: Thick As A Brick – Live In Iceland on Blu-ray!

Thick As a Brick


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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