Jethro Tull

May 19, 2010 - 013, Tilburg (NL)

Jethro Tull is one of the oldest British prog rock bands that released over forty albums. The distinctive sound of the band has always been a blend of blues, folk rock, prog rock, classical music, jazz influences and touches of Eastern sounds with the emphasis on the flute play of Ian Anderson. Tull's music is hard to describe and certainly not easy to categorize into one genre. Honestly speaking, I couldn't remember the last time I saw Jethro Tull on a Dutch live stage. However, a short glimpse in my prog archive - including several old tour program books - learned that I saw both the promotion concerts for the Roots To Branches-album in 1995 and for the J-Tull Dot Com- album in 1999 at the old Vredenburg-venue in Utrecht. At the time, I felt that both concerts didn't feed my hunger for great progressive rock music and for that reason Jethro Tull disappeared from my list of bands that I would like to see.

More than ten years later, I became very curious about the band's current sound on a live stage. A visit to their only Dutch performance at the 013 venue in Tilburg could deliver the answer. The band kicked off with the classic piece Cross-eyed Mary from the Aqualung -album (1971). The lead vocals were performed by Mr. Tull himself and I noticed that he sang rather well. Sure, he doesn't reach the higher notes any longer and as a result he sings many songs differently. However, the sound was very good and above all not too loud. After the second song Beggar's Farm it was time for a short acoustic interlude.   Life's A Long Song showed again that Jethro Tull are the perfect band to give such a song a fine acoustic treatment. On Eurology we could watch keyboardist John O'Hara, who recently replaced Andrew Giddings, playing on his accordion for the first time. This instrument seems to fit him rather well, because during the rest of the concert he played it several times in a pleasant way. Ian Anderson introduced Nothing Is Easy as being one of the favourite pieces of drummer Doane Perry. This song gave most of the musicians a chance to perform some solo stuff on their instruments like a short bass solo done by David Goodier. Mr. Anderson played the mouth-organ in the song New Day Yesterday and proved that he still plays the bluesy notes very well. In Bourrée, a classical piece by J.S. Bach, Anderson had a leading role on his flute. However, the version they performed in Tilburg was a bit too jazzy for my ears. It even included a short, but strange bass solo.

One of the two new pieces the band played was a track called Hare In The Wine Cup. The song was performed in an acoustic set-up with drummer Doane Perry behind the tablas. This song was less impressive than A Change Of Horses, a song they once performed with Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the famous sitar player Ravi Shankar. She contributed with some sitar playing, but since she was not present Martin Barre had to play her parts on the electric guitar. After the strong instrumental piece Pastime In Good Company it was time for another 'blast from the past'. My God, again taken from the classic Aqualung-album was performed very well with a leading role for the flute, but also for the lead guitar. The track named as MB Instrumental featured a drum solo by Mr. Perry. Drum solos are not my favourite interludes during concerts, so a visit to the toilet was a natural choice here. After the epic piece Budapest from the Crest Of A Knave-album (1987) it was time for 'sitting on a park bench' which meant that Aqualung came next which was also the last song they performed during the regular set.

Unfortunately, the rock veterans returned for just one final song. Maybe they are too old to rock and roll and too young to die after all? The only encore was certainly played with a lot of energy and passion. As always Locomotive Breath got an extended live version which ended this concert from Jethro Tull. It's true the band was in good shape, but I missed the real progressive rock tunes, just like eleven years ago. Songs from my favourite Jethro Tull-albums Thick As A Brick and The Broadsword And The Beast were not performed. I missed a strong piece as Black Sunday from the A-album (1980) as well. So, for me no more Jethro Tull-concerts, no matter how strong they perform like the band did at the 013 venue.

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)


Set 1:
Cross-eyed Mary
Beggar's Farm
Life's A Long Song
Jack In The Green
Nothing Is Easy
New Day Yesterday
Songs From The Wood
Hare In The Wine Cup
A Change Of Horses
Pastime In Good Company
My God
MB Instrumental

Locomotive Breath

Pictures Jethro Tull by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up:

Ian Anderson:
flute, acoustic guitar, lead and backing vocals
Martin Barre:
electric and acoustic guitars
John O'Hara:
keyboards, accordion
Doane Perry:
drums, percussion
David Goodier:
bass, percussion

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