Concert Review Archive

 

Jethro Tull

Wednesday, 19th May 2010
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Article By Jan Voorbij

On May 19 Jethro Tull performed in 013 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. As always, 013 proved to be a wonderful venue with great acoustics and it was sold out in the nick of time. Being a critical Tull-follower since December 1968, when I first heard the This Was album, I have attended many concerts over the years and lost count of them. A great concert in itself it was this time again, but Jethro Tull has problems, and it showed.

As usual the band did a great job. After some PA-problems during the opening song Cross Eyed Mary and a false start with Songs From The Wood, everything went well. What we saw was a very professional band, sounding tight as a rock: crisp and fresh during the acoustic parts, sturdy and solid during the rock songs. Nothing was left to chance - as usual. Anderson´s fluteplaying was energetic and marvelous from time to time, Barre did a great job on the solo guitar. Perry in his drumshop played tight as always and his syncopating was a lust for our ears. Goodier on six string bass guitar made a perfect rhythm section with Perry and their was not much to complain about keyboard and harmonica. The band obviously enjoyed playing for us. So far so good.

But Jethro Tull has a few problems. Firstly there are the singing qualities of Ian Anderson – or should I say the lack of them? Since the Under Wraps Tour 1984 his voice has been deteriorating. The instruments had to be tuned down in a lower key to help him sing his songs. Though his voice lacks technical training it was in its own way attractive, appealing for the fans. And when singing acoustic songs it sounds still great from time to time. But now it showed that it has almost gone completely. It´s embarrassing to see Anderson struggle to reach the correct note, overstretching his throat muscles. Any way, judge for yourself.

Although the band has an immense oeuvre of over 500 songs to choose from , fans are annoyed, not to say vexed, by the fact that the set list barely changed in the last decade. What was offered was a collection of classical songs from the albums This Was, Stand Up, Aqualung, Songs From The Wood, Stormwatch, Crest Of A Knave and the obligatory Martin Barre tune. Great perhaps for people who came to see Tull for the first time, but not for the lion´s share of the audience: the over 45 old loyal “TullSkulls”, who bought every album or DVD, collected boots, and went to every Tull concert in their region. I was struck by the fact that many longtime fans decided to say goodbye to Tull for this reason and were not around anymore.

Those who came to hear new material must have been disappointed. Jethro Tull has not released any new album since the outstanding J-Tull Dot Com (1999), apart from the JT Christmas Album and the many “best ofs”, and the craving for new material among the fans is substantial. Too much touring perhaps? The time consuming classical ventures of Ian Anderson? Probably both. According to an interview with Ian Anderson on the official Tull site no new album will be released due to the fact that it will be illegally downloaded. But Hare in A Winecup and an instrumental, that was written to enable Ian to play together with Ravi Shankar´s daughter on Indian sitar, were a great surprise and made us crave for more.

It is with mixed feelings that I conclude this review. Though still sounding great I can only come to the conclusion that Jethro Tull has over the years become a caricature of what the band once was. The intensive touring for 4 decades has taken its toll. It is with pain in my heart and hard to digest that I, like so many others, have to face the fact that the time has come to say goodbye to Jethro Tull and cherish the memories of old times, the wonderful concerts, the great albums and the vast legion of loyal Tull fans of whom many became friends of mine over the years, before the caricature replaces the concept, or image of what the band once was. But what Jethro Tull has offered me over the years makes me grateful.

The set list during this 140 minute concert included: Cross Eyed Mary, Beggars´Farm, Songs From The Wood, Dun Ringill, An instrumental tune from the last concert in India, Bourée, Jack In The Green, A New Day Yesterday, Nothing Is Easy, Hare In A Winecup, Bug (Martin Barre), Budapest, My God, and the probably inevitable but by now boring Aqualung and Locomotive Breath as encores.

“ … and no one stops to see the fate of change and the change of fate …”

From: March The Mad Scientist – Ian Anderson

Links

Jethro Tull Official Website
Jethro Tull Myspace

DPRP's review of Jethro Tull's "J-Tull Dot Com"

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