Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ian Anderson -- Birchmere - Nov 15 2010

Ian Anderson - This was a solo show for the famed Jethro Tull frontman/songwriter and the stage was looking pretty Tull like. In fact, bassist David Goodier and John O'Hara on keyboards/accordion from Jethro Tull are here tonight. Apparently Martin Barre was not up to rigors of the road (perhaps Doane Perry, too), so Anderson called it a solo show. And while that made me first think that he could do a more eclectic set, I quickly remembered the last time I saw Jethro Tull, he brought up a young violinist to help them cover Zeppelin's Kashmir! So who knew what to expect tonight? Anderson had Scott Hammond on drums and a young guitarist from the Munich area of Germany named Florian Opahle, who has worked with Anderson a lot in recent years. Anyway, a nearly packed house was greeted with a surprised Anderson who was stunned at how close everyone was to the stage. Yes, this is not one of the gazillion arena shows he has played. And since he always has plenty of stage patter and song introductions, I will just list the set list along with some comments.

(1) Life's a Love Song - solid opener
(2) Up to Me
(3) Nursie
(4) In the Grip of Strong Stuff - dedicated to Fairport and former Tull bassist Dave Pegg who used to have a serious alcohol problem but now is but a mere alcoholic.
(5) Set-Aside - This is one actually from an Anderson solo album
(6) The Hare in the Wine Cup - a newer cut
(7) Wondering Again - His sequel to Wondering Aloud
(8) Andantino - Guitarist's shredding flamenco guitar work-out with band helping on handclaps
(9) Adrift and Dumbfounded - Heavy Tull arrangement
(10) The Story of the Hare Who Lost his Spectacles - OK, this was the bizarre moment. Amusing.
(11) Bach's Prelude in C Major/Bouree - The famous Bach piece at the end has some twists on the arrangement but still with the super cool bass solo.
(12) That Fucking Song - The start of the more electric set was a new number that Anderson explained was a brand new song without a name. He gave it to the band to learn the day before the tour and they named it for now.

(13) Thick as a Brick - Edited, of course, but a good long workout. This did show some of the limitations of Anderson's voice. Aside from Leslie West, most singers in their 60s and beyond have to take it a bit short of the intense moments and Anderson is no exception. He still has plenty left, so it is not distracting.
(14) A Change of Horses - Written for Ravi Shankar's sitar playing daughter, but arranged well tonight.
(15) Budapest
(16) Bach's Toccata and Fugue (or Toccata in D Minor as I know it) - More guitar shredding for the young German gunslinger.
(17) Aqualung - After a long intro on how you can recognize songs, he challenged us to name this one in one note. After the keyboardist struck it, I got it right (although this song WAS due). A really awesome acoustic arrangement for several minutes before they cut into the traditional guitar stomper.
(Encore) Locomotive Breath - I was a bit bummed that they skipped the intro and started straight in with two acoustic guitars, but it sounded great so all was well. Then just as in Aqualung, they went into the normal arrangement with the keys and ultimately the heavy recognizable chords. And I swear I heard a bit of the Horslips flute part from the Book of Invasions in the flute solo. I bet they both pulled from the same folk song. But that certainly much of the fun was trying to keep up with Ian Anderson and his eclectic twists and turns. It was a very satisfied crowd and I had much fun.

Quote of the Night: There are dozens, but as Anderson was describing how difficult he could be at times, he ended with... "I apologize, as I am a miserable bastard. Not as miserable as Roger Waters, but...."

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