The air of excited anticipation pervaded Colston Hall as Jethro Tull fans streamed in for an evening of entertainment in two halves – the opening section dedicated to Ian Anderson’s latest Album Homo Erraticus and the second half a selection of Jethro Tull’s immense back catalogue.
The album is definitely a concept prog-rock record using the themes and thoughts from a “dusty, unpublished manuscript, written by local amateur historian Ernest T. Parritt (1873-1928), “Homo Erraticus” providing the bedrock of the superb narrative story that the first half of the concert took us through, wow what a journey, visually, aurally and emotionally
The cinematography was moody, thought-provoking and always apposite to the track being played in the first half as we were musically walked through the album starting with ‘Doggerland’ starting with the only introduction Ian Anderson requires the haunting flute. Heavy Metals is portrayed with the visuals on stage of Ryan O’Donnell with a Hammer and Anvil, Ryan throughout the album rendition adds an extra dimension of visual/ theatrical drama along with additional vocals. Ian’s vocals and requisite Mandolin playing that is centre stage as the vocals ebb and flow with the melody. The stage set with its Celtic imagery is mystical and evocative of times distant with a ghostly Monk on stage for Ian to sing to with imagery that morphs and shapes around the music. The morphing of the well-known image of the Red & Black Che Guevara into Jesus Christ is thought-provoking. As the audience settled down to be truly entertained..
….the house lights went up, Ian stepped up to the Mic explaining they were leaving the stage as someone in the audience had been taken ill. There was a long gap the interval was taken and then Ian stepped back on stage reported that the person was on the way to hospital and with applause from the crowd the adventure through the album continued….
we heard ‘Turnpike Inn’ full of distorted guitar and breathless flute playing. The Engineer played against the backdrop of Brunel, Great Western Railway and had a real connection with the Bristolian audience, and ‘The Pax Britannica’ the visuals taking us back to Victoria and empire and with this the music full of powerful instrumentation. Throughout the playing of this concept album the words and Ian’s flute are the dominant feature the visuals and melodies add tonal and visual textures and meanings. It is all about Ian Anderson’s singing, flute and mandolin playing and the wonderful poetic lyrics, everything adds to the emotion the clever visuals and dramatic tempo driven playing of the band who accomplish so much with a tremendous show of talents but there is no doubt it is Ian’s show.
Without the planned interval Ian Anderson and the band took us on a time travelling journey as he picked out songs we love from his back catalogue. We were taken back to 24th April 1967 and the one-legged flautist rock star was back on stage as he launched into ‘Living In The Past’ we then fast forwarded to 1970 and “The Benefit Album”, “With You There to Help Me” as we toured the back catalogue to cheers and whoops of delight Ryan O’Donnell his extra stage hand chose ‘Teacher’ from the second side of the album. After a lot of music with Scott Hammond on drums who had performed with accuracy and feeling on every track, Florian Opahle on Electric guitar who bought some real magical moments to this musical fest, John O’Hara on keyboards, Piano and Hammond and we mustn’t forget some sublime Accordion playing and David Goodier providing the ever presence of his bass. Now we were in the modern times of 1976 and Too Old To Rock N’ Roll; Too Young to die.. the loudest cheer of the evening was definitely for the title track of the album “Aqualung”…
What an evening of theatrical and musical delight it was far too short we all left wanting more but very happy.
This was a great evening catch him touring throughout May in U.K. and throughout 2014.
*apologies – no LizAiken photography as no photography was allowed throughout the show –
Ian Anderson – enter the Unlimited (from Homo Erraticus)