Archive for the ‘Ian Anderson’ Category

Ian Anderson performs the rock opera Jethro Tull @ Sage Gateshead 13th September 2015

Ian Anderson performs the rock opera Jethro Tull @ Sage Gateshead 13th September 2015
ian anderson tixThings come full circle. The touring band known as Jethro Tull seems to have been shelved, with Tull frontman and our manic flautist hero Ian Anderson touring under his own name, and Tull guitarist Martin Barre doing likewise. But Ian Anderson couldn’t keep away from the Tull moniker and concept for too long. So, as “a tribute to the original 18th Century agriculturalist” whose name the band borrowed back in February 1968, our hero has “imagined a scenario where the pioneering pursuit of improved crop-growing and farming methodology might apply to the world of today and tomorrow”. This led to the development of “Jethro Tull: the Rock Opera”, the delights of which Norm, Will and I experienced a few days ago at the Sage Gateshead. Anderson’s rock opera concept is this: take the story of the original farmer and inventor Jethro Tull and bring it up to date; tell that tale through the songs of Jethro Tull the band (and a few new ones written especially for the occasion), and create a theatrical stage show which takes the audience through the story. The show is very much just that; “a show” rather than a concert. The band provide the music, playing in front of a giant HD video screen. On the screen appear a cast of “virtual guests” who play the parts of Mr Tull and his family, narrate the story and sing segments of the songs. Anderson explains it thus: “Instead of spoken introductions to the songs in the show, there will be the use of that operatic device, the “recitative”, where the links are made by short sung vocal segments in a usually-simple musical backdrop”. So the songs are sung in part by Anderson live, and in part by virtual singers on the screen. The songs flow from one to the next with short video segments as bridges.
ian anderson progThe show started at 7.30pm prompt. Parking problems made us a little late, and we had to wait outside until first song “Heavy Horses” was finished (“a suitable break in the performance”). The first half was around one hour and there was a short interval before “the show” resumed. How did it work? Very well actually. The video was high quality and the sequencing between Anderson and band and the virtual singers was faultless. Anderson’s voice may not be quite as strong as it was “back in the day” so the use of video allowed him some vocal rest, and gave welcome variety to the performance. However, I must say that Ian’s flute playing remains as excellent as ever, and his stage presence and antics are undiminished. The virtual sets were as you might imagine; we were transported onscreen to Preston station for “Cheap Day Return” and deep into the forest for “Song from the Wood”. Great Tull fun. Special mention to Unnur Birna Bjornsdottir whose vocals were exquisite and made for great reworkings of Tull classics, particularly “The Witch’s Promise” and Florian Opahle, whose guitar playing was tremendous. A very different and highly enjoyable Tull evening. Great to see old friend Doug and other fellow Tullites.
What next Ian?
Part 1: Heavy Horses; Wind-Up; Aqualung; With You There to Help Me; Back to the Family; Farm on the Freeway; Prosperous Pasture; Fruits of Frankenfield; Songs From the Wood
Set 2: And the World Feeds Me; Living in the Past; Jack-in-the-Green; The Witch’s Promise; Weathercock; Stick, Twist, Bust; Cheap Day Return; A New Day Yesterday; The Turnstile Gate; Locomotive Breath
Encore: Requiem and Fugue
The Musicians: Ian Anderson (flute, vocals, guitar), Florian Opahle (guitar), John O’Hara (piano; Hammond organ), Greig Robinson (bass), Scott Hammond (drums, percussion).
The (virtual) Players: Ryan O’Donnell (the younger Jethro, and Jasper son of Jethro), Unnur Birna Bjornsdottir (Susannah, wife of Jethro), David Goodier (Jethros’ father), Ian Anderson (Narrator and the older Jethro), John O’Hara (scientist and choirmaster).

Ian Anderson plays Thick as a Brick Newcastle April 17th 2012

Ian Anderson Plays Thick as a Brick Newcastle City April 17th 2012
Went along with Will and Norm to see Ian Anderson and his merry band play Thick As A Brick 1 and 2. Thick As A Brick 1 is, of course, the original Jethro Tull album which was released in 1972, and Thick As A Brick 2 is a new album which has just been released by Ian. I was late getting away from work, so I had arranged to meet my friends through at the City Hall. I managed to arrive just 10 minutes after the 7.30 start time, so only missed a very small part of the show. The show was in two parts, with the first set being the old album. There was a short interval, followed by the new album played in its entirity. Ian has assembled an excellent band and the show is very theatrical with one guy playing the part of Gerald Bostock, and singing quite a lot of the vocals. The additional singer is a good move, giving Ian a break from singing at times. The show was supported by video and the use of props, and came over very well indeed. The situation around Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull is somewhat confusing to say the least. While it appears the Jethro Tull have not formally split, Ian Anderson is doing more and more things as solo projects, and Martin Barre has also started his own band, New Day, which will also feature Tull songs in their set. It also seems strange that Ian has chosen to revisit Thick as a Brick at this point, and that he is treating it as a solo project, when Martin Barre has been so intrinsic to the Tull sound for so long. Not with standing this, we all agreed that this was the best time that we have see Ian Anderson or Jethro Tull for some time. We also ran into a few old friends, which was nice.

Ian Anderson The Sage Gateshead 19 Sep 2011

Ian Anderson The Sage Gateshead 19 Sep 2011
Will, Norm and I went along to see Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull at the Sage last Monday. Ian seems to be touring endlessly, sometimes with Tull, sometimes solo. Although I would much prefer to see a full Tull show, a chance to attend a show by the great showman flautist is not to be sniffed at. The set was a mixture of some old Tull favourites, some less known tunes, and a few classical pieces thrown in. All of these were done largely acoustically by Ian, a keyboard player and guitarist (Florian Opahle). Florian is a pretty slick guitarist and Ian’s flute playing was just superb; the smaller band setting allowing him to play longer solos than he would normally play within the context of a Jethro Tull show. Monday’s concert was in the smaller Hall 2 of the Sage, which is a much more intimate setting than the larger Hall. It was good see Ian Anderson again; and to have a chat with our old Tull mate Doug. A good evening, which will keep us all going until Jethro Tull come around again; and we also can’t wait for Ian to return next year; when he plays the City Hall with his “Thick as a Brick” show, which promises to be pretty special.
Jethro Tull website
Setlist: First half: Boris Dancing; Mother Goose; Up To Me; Set-Aside; Overture; Wond’ring Again; Florian guitar solo; Hare In The Wine Cup; Bach’s Prelude In C Major/Bouree
Second half: Up The Pool; The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles; The Poet and the Painter; Adrift and Dumbfounded; A Change Of Horses; Bach’s Toccata and Fugue; Budapest
Encores: Aqualung; Locomotive Breath


flyer for next years Thick as a Brick tour