For my first foray into Progarchy, I would like to talk about the prog god of the year, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, who thankfully is not too old to rock and roll and is definitely too young to die. More specifically, I would like to talk about Ian Anderson’s Thick as a Brick 1 & 2 tour, which I saw at Ravinia, in Highland Park, Illinois, in July of this year. This concert was simply amazing. From the first notes of Thick as a Brick to the final bow, Ian Anderson and co. never cease to amaze. They do not bill themselves as Jethro Tull because Martin Barre is currently not a part of the band. Instead, Florian Opahle fills in as a more than capable guitarist. In fact, every musician in the band is excellent. The lineup is Ian Anderson on flute, acoustic guitar, and vocals, David Goodier on bass, John O’Hara on keyboards and accordion (yes! accordion), Florian Opahle on guitar, Scott Hammond on drums, and Ryan O’Donnell on vocals and stage antics. The latter is an excellent move on Ian Anderson’s part, as O’Donnell can reach the high notes that Anderson can no longer reach. He also has a remarkably similar voice to Ian Anderson of the ’70s, but never fear, for Ian Anderson still does the majority of the singing.
For the concert itself, the band plays Thick as a Brick 1 & 2 in their entirety, as well as Locomotive Breath as an encore. Ian Anderson’s ability to play the flute is unequaled, and he has only gotten better with age. Ian Anderson’s voice has changed considerably over the years, but he still sounds good. Thick as a Brick 2, however, sounds better in concert than it does on the album. I can only attribute that to the fact that the band has been touring for over a year, and knows the music to a tee. Ian Anderson’s flute playing draws the viewer into the concert and captivates their full attention. Thematically, Thick as a Brick 2 makes the listener ponder what life might have been like if they had made different decisions in life, all through relaying several possible career choices for our beloved Gerald Bostock. The final song of the concert, Locomotive Breath, brings the audience to its feet in a finale worthy of Jethro Tull. Throughout the concert, Ian Anderson proves that the music of Jethro Tull really does stand the test of time and that he will never be too old to rock and roll.
For tour dates, click here: http://jethrotull.com/tour-dates/
To read about Ian Anderson’s 2013 award, click here: http://www.progrockmag.com/news/ian-anderson-is-prog-god-2013/