Nobody Jethro Tulls Like Jethro Tull: You might notice that the photo at the top of this story is a publicity shot, rather than a photo from Jethro Tull‘s concert at the Greek Theatre on Wednesday evening. This is because photography was not allowed at the show — not professional photos taken from the front, and not photos or videos taken with a phone (at least, not until the last song). Frontman and sole remaining original member Ian Anderson announced that very thing just before taking to the stage, and then he enforced it throughout the show by pointing out and chastising people who were ignoring the instructions. Honestly, while he has the right to set the rules, it started to feel a bit silly. But hey, Anderson’s gonna Anderson.
Jethro Tull is, and has always been, an odd beast. A proggy, folky, unapologetically weird band that has plowed their own field (almost literally, with the song “Heavy Horses”) since the This Was debut album in 1968. There was nothing from that particular album at the Greek, but the band played two songs from the sophomore Stand Up (“Nothing is Easy” and “We Used to Know”).
The set, split into two halves with a 15-minute intermission, fairly effectively covered Jethro Tulls decades of wondrous experimentation dotted with glorious silliness and inescapably English twee.
The aforementioned “Heavy Horses” from the ’78 album of the same name really is an ode to agriculture — a heavy folk-rock monster, complete with images of, literally, horses plowing a field beamed on the big screen behind Anderson.
We got a lot of more recent material — a couple from this year’s RökFlöte, a couple from last year’s The Zealot Gene, and even “Holly Herald” from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album. “Hunt By Numbers,” from 1999’s J-Tull Dot Com, is all about kitty cats. Yup.
The covers Tull played are classical numbers — “Bourrée in E Minor” by Bach and “Parvane in F-Sharp Minor” by Gabriel Faure, rocked up by this new look Tull.
Naturally, “Aqualung” got the biggest reaction from the crowd (even it was a revised version), and then Tull encored with “Locomotive Breath,” also from the Aqualung album.
Throughout it all, the 76-year-old Anderson, flute in hand, whipped around the stage like a sprite half his age. The man simply refuses to change, and why should he?
Nobody Jethro Tulls Like Jethro Tull
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