Friday, November 7, 2014

Ian Anderson -- Lincoln Theatre - Nov 6 2014

Ian Anderson - It is always a pleasure to catch up with the latest tour from Jethro Tull icon Ian Anderson, as it is like welcoming an old musical friend who never fails to have some new tricks up his sleeve. Jethro Tull was about my 4th or 5th concert ever at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio from way back in my high school days. It was such a mob getting in that you could lift your feet and be carried into the arena hundreds of feet later. Some windows did not handle the stress quite as well as I recall. Tonight's crowd could have included some of those same youngsters that have stayed with Ian Anderson through the many different bands and style of music he has created under the widest of progressive labels. Tonight he brings a tight veteran band consisting of drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards to join in with his flute and acoustic guitar. The biggest change over the years is a guest vocalist who works with him not only on harmonies but also on shared lead vocals, often with a tradeoff on individual lines within a song. It is quite evident that Anderson's 67 year old voice does struggle with the high notes and the famed flexibility that he worked into his music over the last 45 years. Once you get used to this presentation, it works well as Anderson still can nail the core parts and works to extract everything he can for his part. The harmonies work well on a few of the songs that were double tracked in studio and it allows Anderson to do some flute flourishes when Ryan O'Donnell handles the vocals.

The band is top notch as you would expect with David Goodier and John O'Hara from the Tull days on bass and keys respectively. Add the slightly younger Scott Hammond on drums and the 'kid' Florian Ophale on guitar and you not only have a great band, but the same band that worked on the latest album. And that works out great as they begin with seven songs from 'Homo Erraticus' all complete with some theatrical bits and well above average backing videos. I thought the material was excellent and it holds its own amongst the classic songs. But they added a cool version of 'Bouree' and a good block of 'Thick as a Brick' to end their first set.
In the second set, it was all Tull material with a clock and calendar projected behind the band to aide in the placement of these songs from the second album on, including some famed singles. This was a blast as not only were there some of the expected songs, but a cut like 'Sweet Dream' was a pleasant surprise. But the true shock was hearing a great 'With You There to Help Me' from a Benefit, an album he virtually would not touch for many a decade, as he never felt he could give it on honest go due to some of the lyrical content and memories. He later joked that the critics may have been right when they said he stepped over the line with 'A Passion Play', but still wanted to do one of his favorites from that album, 'Critique Oblique' which certainly tends toward a challenging oblique progressive musical form. I was thrilled that he covered his folk rock phase as well, as the diversity of the Tull material is half the fun. But there was 'Aqualung' to close and 'Locomotive Breath' as the encore, which the crowd always appreciates (and then some). Quite simply, it was terrific fun for me and I was pleased that my friend who doesn't hit the old rock circuit much anymore also had a great time. As long as Ian Anderson can get up on one leg and play those flute runs with a great band beside him, I'm there.

Set List:  Doggerland, Enter the Uninvited, Puer Ferox, Adventus, The Engineer, Tripudium ad Bellum, The Browning of the Green, Cold Day Reckoning, Bouree, Thick as a Brick Living in the Past, With You There to Help Me, Sweet Dream, Teacher, Critique Oblique, Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Songs from the Wood, Farm on the Freeway, Aqualung, Encore - Locomotive Breath.


Anonymous said...

wagesI saw the show last night in DC. Great fun!!! I also saw Tull in Hara in Dayton. The way you describe it sounds like the same show!!!!! Anyway, good lob on the review.

David Hintz said...

Great! I think everyone remembers that Dayton show since the crowd was so much more intense about getting in than many of the others at that time. I think my reactions are pretty similar (which is great to have happen after so many decades). But I can definitely attest that the older crowd was quite orderly as they filed in from U Street into this historic venue.

Anonymous said...

Nice piece, thanks. Am about to listen to Homo Erraticus - just found out that he had a new solo album.

David Hintz said...

Thanks, hope you enjoy the new record. I find his recent material quite good. He seemed to take a bit of a break from writing for a while, but this new prolific phase has produced some fine work.