Live Gig Review by Karen Hetherington
Photos by Chris White Photography
As I approached the Prog stage about 15 minutes before Ian Anderson was scheduled to perform, an eager audience had already started to assemble creating the biggest crowd the stage had seen so far that day. Following hours of rain, it had dried up at last and we dared to hope it would stay that way.
After a brief sound check, the opening chords of Living in the Past are instantly recognisable to the audience who are clapping and cheering as Mr Anderson graces the stage in his usual histrionic manner.It was a perfectly fitting,nostalgic opener which was joyously received. Ian was in exceptionally good spirits apologising about the weather and teasing the assembled crowd about the glorious heat in Germany (where he had just flown in from), while many still shivered in their raincoats.
Thereafter, classic songs were spun out in all too quick succession forming a set that could easily be described as Tull’s Greatest Hits. Very early tracks such as “Nothing is Easy” and “Bouree” delighted the audience and whilst introducing “Too Old to Rock N Roll: Too Young to Die”, Ian couldn’t resist humorously hinting that the crowd were getting on a bit.I had rather expected to hear one or two tracks from his latest release“Homo Erraticus” thrown in for good measure but he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself with this presentation of the essential Tull repertoire and we are promised some new and fitting material in the upcoming Jethro Tull Rock Opera tour.
Ian seems to have an abundance of energy and gave a fantastic performance with a seemingly renewed enthusiasm. He certainly commanded the audience’s absolute attention. It is clear that his voice has suffered some degree of damage over the years but after such a lengthy career this couldn’t come as much of a surprise. His skills as a flautist, however, have not only survived unscathed, buthave become more finely honed with time. His performance on the flute was outstanding and he chatted generously between tracks.
Guitarist Florian Opahledazzled the crowd with a rendition of Bachs’ Toccata and Fugue and brought a definitive heavy sound to the familiar tunes. I confess I was initially sceptical of this but was sold after the third track – Thick as a Brick. He is an amazingly talented young guitarist with excellent stage presence and let’sface it, this guy has big shoes to fill. Bassist David Goodier, Drummer Scott Hammond, and Keyboardist John O’hara completed the line up. The band are tight and have an excellent rapport, not that I would expect anything less from Mr Anderson who is, after all, a perfectionist.
Nine tracks in total were squeezed into the hour long set which seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Locomotive Breath was played as the perfect encore and the engaged, enthusiastic fans were clearly reluctant to see this fantastic performance brought to its all too early conclusion. Ian bid fans farewell saying he would see them again next year….I certainly hope so as his shows never fail to impress.
Ian Anderson stated in 2014 that in his twilight years he will be touring and recording all future material under his own name (as opposed toJethro Tull, the name “borrowed” from the 18th Century Agriculturalist) and will shortly be commencing the JethroTull Rock Opera tour. This tour promises something just a little bit different and it will be intriguing to see how it all plays out.. FIRST NIGHT will be in The Anvil, Basingstoke on 8th September. Be sure to catch Ian on one of the many tour dates, it will be a unique experience not to be missed.
Earlier in June 2015, we sat down and had a chat with Ian Anderson. Click here to read the interview.