Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jethro Tull, Udine 03/07/2009

Anyone ever seen the
Rolling Stones`s December 1968 DVD, “Rock and Roll Circus”?
I think it`s become a classic of rock music as some of the guests are The Who, Mitch Mitchell (Hendrix`s former drummer), Taj Mahal, The Stones (with Brian Jones), Eric Clapton (memorable is the scene of him, Lennon, Richards on bass guitar and Mitchell on drums all on the same stage!) a simply beautiful Marianne Faithfull—whom I had actually seen years ago in Udine—and a very young and peculiar-looking Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (just how much grass he smoked BEFORE going on stage for that show remains to be seen!). The other coincidence is that Jethro Tull had actually formed only one year prior to that show.

Quite the thing to see (after the 2003 show in the same venue) Anderson, the so-called “Pied Piper of flute-progressive rock”, 41 years later once again in Udine`s castle for a 2-hour show full of high-energy music. Something else which is rather historic is that Anderson was joined on stage by guitarist Martin Barre, who has been with the band since 1969 (by the way, band names were often supplied by their booking agents' staff. In Anderson`s case, one was a history enthusiast who had eventually christened them "Jethro Tull" after an 18th century agriculturalist. The name stuck because they were using it the first time a club manager liked their show enough to invite them to return). Luckily the weather held up too as rather menacing clouds overheard threatened to turn the entire evening into a wet show.

The band`s best-known work was “Aqualung” which was published in 1971, and which Anderson naturally performed for an appreciative crowd just before his other most famous song, “Locomotive Breath”. Tunes from “Thick As A Brick” were also played, Tull`s first album which had reached number 1 on the (U.S.) Billboard Pop Albums charts.

Anderson`s performance in Udine was still rather spectacular for a man who isn`t exactly a kid anymore (a master show man as he thanked the Udine audience for the warm reception). Boredom is NOT part of his repertoire as he wielded his silver flute more like a baton than an actual instrument! The band opened up with “Nothing Is Easy” and concluded with “Thick As A Brick”. The lighting, sound and Anderson`s band came in second to none to other progressive rock bands such as Genesis and Yes (all pics by M. Rimati)!

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