Gig Review: Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull – 50th Anniversary Tour, 10.12.2018

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»In the shuffling madness«

50 years have passed since the founding of Jethro Tull. In the course of his »Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull – 50th Anniversary Tour« the famous frontman paid Vienna a prestigious jubilee visit.

It is 8 pm in the well-filled hall F of the Wiener Stadthalle. Most of the visitors have taken their seats. A huge screen is installed on the spacious stage, onto which several smaller retro TV-screens are being projected, with each of them showing different Jethro Tull live footage. In the background, the music of this legendary band is already audible. At 8:07 pm, Florian Opahle (guitar), John O’Hara (keys, vocals), David Goodier (bass, vocals), Scott Hammond (drums), and finally Ian Anderson (flute, guitar, harmonica, vocals) step onto the playing field.

»The train, it won’t stop going«

After a prompt start consisting of »My Sunday Feeling« and »Love Story«, Anderson greets his audience: »Thank you very much indeed, good evening and hello – welcome to fifty years of Jethro Tull!« he says, before shortly telling about the bands initiation back in the year of 1968, which manifested with their first gig at London’s Marquee Club. The band leader explains that instead of an ordinary band, Jethro Tull is rather a collective that holds over thirty musicians who came and went over time.

Each of tonight’s songs has been chosen carefully and is either dedicated to or requested by one specific person. Thus, before the start of each new song, Anderson tells an anecdote, which is then followed by a video clip, showing another person announcing the upcoming tune every time. First, we see Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, who, back in the day, left the band to become a painter. He, of course, requests »Songs for Jeffrey«, just one of many songs from the »Aqualung« album that are going to be part of tonight’s setlist. Unfortunately, Anderson’s vocals are not as sharp and powerful as one might have hoped for, the instrumental side, however, is spot on from all parties involved.

The first half of the show takes the listeners from »Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You« and »Dharma for One« to »A New Day Yesterday« (announced in the video clip by Joe Bonamassa), whereby each piece is accompanied by exciting visuals and light effects. And although before the show the audience have been kindly asked not to use their mobile phones for taking photos and recording videos of the performance, some people seem utterly unable to restrain from doing so. Not even a personal reminder by Anderson himself will do the trick: »The light flashes in my eyes and it is very off-putting, please don’t do it.« Finally, this reaches the point at which the singer calls his securities during the songs (without interrupting them, though) to show them who in the audience is currently using their phones, upon which they run back down to shut the disturbers down. If every artist were this determined, many a concert might again be a pleasure like this one.

Tony Iommi, who, shortly, was a member of Jethro Tull himself before heading back to Birmingham to start Black Sabbath, announces the song »Bouree« – to which the audience autonomously starts clapping to the beat. After »My God«, which caused several problems for the band at the time (»They just didn’t read the lyrics properly!«) Anderson sends the audience to a fifteen-minute break with the hit »Thick As A Brick«.

»No way to slow down«

The second half starts with »A Passion Play« – announced by Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, himself a »fan of Jethro Tull’s magical genius for 45 years!« After »Too Old To Rock ’N‘ Roll« it is »Songs from the Wood« from the same titled album that ensures absolute chills. Anderson celebrates his music with every single move, yet without a trace of arrogance or egomania. The lovingly designed tour concept seems spotless – its »magnetic frontman«, as skug-author Walter Pontis chooses to describe him, even thinks of a different concluding pose for the end of every song right before the lights go out.

After »Ring Out, Solstice Bells« (requested by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott), »Heavy Horses,« the king Henry VIII cover »Pastime With Good Company,« and »Farm On The Freeway« the audience are greeted by Slash in the next video clip. He announces »one of the greatest tunes of rock ‘n’ roll«: »Aqualung.« But tonight’s version has modified lyrics: instead of the army it is now »Oxford college up the road,« and a student on the screen sings about his seemingly perspectiveless future. A detail that undermines the timelessness of Jethro Tull’s music, very much to Anderson’s artistic intention. After an unsuspectedly agile dance interlude during the guitar solo (naturally followed by a liquid refreshment) frontman and band leave the stage and cheering audience. The encore is not surprising: the musicians reappear, play an elongated intro, Anderson hops back onto the stage and the legendary riff from »Locomotive Breath« starts. Standing ovations are the well-deserved result.

Author: Robin Frank

Read the German version of this article on

More information / photo credits:
Jethro Tull

Gig Review: The Who – 50 Years Tour, 14.09.2016

Blog, Gig Review

Happy Anniversary to The Who

Rock legens The Who are on their 50 Years tour. On September 14th, they stopped for a party in Vienna’s Stadthalle.

Slydigs supported the main act that evening. The band formed in Warrington, UK, and in terms of sound mixes a lot of what seem to be their personal icons – such as the Beatles, U2, Oasis and naturally enough The Who. The four members Dean Fairhurst (vocals, rhythm guitar), Louis Menguy (lead guitar, backing vocals), Peter Fleming (drums) and Ben Breslin (bass, backing vocals) work well together, to me Louis Menguy, though, seemed the most promising of the four.

Interestingly enough, frontman Dean Fairhurst did not leave a very good impression. Firstly, he looked extremely annoyed, sometimes even sorry to be there. Secondly, he doesn’t have a bad voice, but the backing vocals actually sounded better than his own. Maybe he really just had a bad day. And even though Slydigs have some cool songs, especially The Truth Will Be Found and Catch A Fading Light, they didn’t quite manage to convince the audience with their blues rock.

Step aside for The Who

One of England’s most iconic rock bands are without doubt The Who. The band who started its musical career in 1964 with Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar), John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums) propelled to immense success as one of the loudest bands in rock history.

After the passings of Moon (1978) and Entwistle (2002), Daltrey and Townshend are the only founding members left in the band. They are currently on their 50 Years tour, securing instrumental support from several fellow musicians: Simon Townshend (guitar, backing vocals), Pino Palladino (bass), Zak Starkey (drums), Loren Gold (keys, backing vocals), John Corey (keys, backing vocals) and Frank Simes (keys, backing vocals), who have all been associated with The Who for many years. That night they played Vienna’s Stadthalle.

„Wie geht’s wie geht’s wie geht’s?! (How are you?!)“ screamed Roger Daltrey, greeting the audience. And Townshend answered: „Es geht gut. Alt, aber gut. (Fine. Old, but fine.)“ They started the concert with one of the many classics: Who Are You. After that, they played a few songs from the 60ies, such as The Kids Are Alright, I Can See For Miles and My Generation. Within the set, there were some rarer songs, too – I personally enjoyed the instrumental The Rock very much, but the video wall sure added to that with great montages all the way through. Most songs were from the albums Tommy and Quadrophenia, arguably their most important releases.

Old but gold

Of course they did not look and sound like in the old times – Roger Daltrey’s voice is too weak for that now. He seemed tired, sometimes even hit very wrong notes. But both band and audience seemed very nostalgic, and they did manage to secure this touching ambience, not only by their signature stage moves such as Townshend’s windmill and Daltrey’s microphone lasso.

In the end, one might say the audience applauded The Who’s general acquisition throughout fifty years, rather than their performance on that very evening, as Townshend confirmed: „I wrote these songs when I was a little boy. So you are applauding my little boy now.“ But isn’t that just lovely?

Author: Robin Frank

More info / photo credits:
The Who