Ian Anderson / Jethro Tull Newcastle City Hall 5 April 2018

“The train it won’t stop going
No way to slow down” (Locomotive Breath, Jethro Tull, 1971)

tull 50th tixThe sixth formers would carry LPs under their arms to school. They played them in a little room upstairs in the dining hall at lunchtime. Sometimes, if I was lucky, they allowed me upstairs to their elite “Record Club” to listen to their new, magical, psychedelic sounds. The records they carried were badges of honour and included Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, Cream’s Wheels of Fire, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair, But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, and Jethro Tull’s This Was. This Was included a mix of blues, rock and strange flute playing. A year or two later, I am sitting in my mate’s house and we are playing Jethro Tull’s second album Stand Up, with it’s great sleeve which opened out to a set of pop-ups of the band. How cool we felt. Then, in 1971, we all went to see Jethro Tull at Sunderland Empire. Happy days and magical memories. The die was cast. We were all Jethro Tull fans for life.

Roll-on 50 years. Only Ian Anderson remains from that original band and he is touring as Ian Anderson plays Jethro Tull, The 50th Anniversary Tour. Wonderful. What’s not to like. Why not go along and reminisce with old friends, listen to some old sounds, because let’s face it, we all like “Living in the Past”.

The current lineup of “Jethro Tull” is Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, acoustic guitar; David Goodier – bass; John O’Hara – keyboards, accordion, vocals; Scott Hammond – drums; and Florian Opahle – electric and acoustic guitars.

tull 50th progSure, Ian’s voice is not what it was and the old coat is gone, but the flute playing seems great and the songs remain as soulful, passionate, poignant and intriguing as ever. So we start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with “My Sunday Feeling”; Track 1 Side 1 of This Was. This is followed by their first minor chart hit “Love Story”, followed by “A Song for Jeffrey” which is well known to all of us from the cheap compilation album You Can All Join In. Pure magic. The years disappear and the old songs flow over us all. These are followed by other classics from the first couple of albums. My favourites are the aforementioned “Living in the Past”, the magical flute solo which is “Bouree” and the spooky, almost scary “Witches Promise” bringing back memories of Ian’s wide-eyed madness on Top of the Pops (and didn’t our parents disapprove of him!). Set 1 closes with “Cross Eyed Mary”.

After a short interval Ian and the band return to treat us to excerpts from Thick As a Brick and A Passion Play. Then we have a run through the 70s albums moving into more more folk rock territory including “Songs from the Wood” and the Christmas song “Ring out, Solstice Bells”. Set 2 closes with a tale of that seedy tramp “Aqualung”. The encore is, as usual these days, “Locomotive Breath”. And then it is over. We quickly chat with old friends again and then go our separate ways. Until next time. Of course it will never be the same, but Ian Anderson did the Tull legacy proud, and gave us all a night to remember. Happy days.

Setlist. Set 1: My Sunday Feeling; Love Story; A Song for Jeffrey; Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You; Dharma for One; Living in the Past; A New Day Yesterday; Bourrée in E minor (Johann Sebastian Bach); With You There to Help Me / The Witch’s Promise; My God; Cross-Eyed Mary. Set 2: Thick as a Brick (excerpt); A Passion Play (excerpt); Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die; Songs From the Wood; Ring Out, Solstice Bells; Heavy Horses; Farm on the Freeway; Aqualung. Encore: Locomotive Breath

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Henderson. on August 11, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I was there – brilliant concert – last time I had seen Tull was at the 25th anniversary tour – 25 years ago! Where did that time ago. Ian Anderson- too old to rock and roll – I don’t think so.

    Reply

  2. Posted by John Moses on August 13, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Hi Peter,

    I was one of those sixth formers at my school I bought ‘This Was’ twice (gave it away then missed it and bought it again and still have it). Saw Mick Abrahams play in Stockton (in the eighties) with his own band I think, he did Cat’s Squirrel that night I believe.

    John

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on August 13, 2020 at 11:13 am

      Hi John

      Yes Mick Abrahams did tour with his own band and he will almost certainly have played “Cats Squirrel”. Happy days Peter

      Reply

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