ust got home from tonights Utrecht gig. I'm too
in March I bought the tickets for my family and me
for the Jethro Tull concert that would take place on
June 12. However my feelings of excitement cooled
down to reservation when I read a few weeks later
about the new Tull-album, suspecting that the
subsequent tour would be the "umpthiest"
best of tour..... How could they do this? With so
many beautiful songs on record that were never played
live! Well, I was proven to be wrong: I went to
Utrecht a bit reserved, expecting nothing new. But
that changed in the course of the evening.
I went there with my wife and kids and managed to
find Jeroen and Lilian in the crowd and Pieter who
was there also with his young son. Many familiar
faces; many Dutch and German friends. A bit like a
class reunion atmosphere. And kids, many kids brought
in by their parents by way of .... er ... education
The show opened with The Young Dubliners who proved
to be able to warm us all up with their enthusiasm,
their energy and their plain rock with an Irish sauce
of fiddle and tin whistle poured over it.
After 20 minutes Tull hit the stage. The band was
very tight right from the start, Martin played the
stars out of the sky and Ian's voice was pretty good,
though it took the full length of "My Sunday
Feeling"to get to vocal amplification right.
Three days of rest before this gig worked, I think.
What then followed was a fine overview of their work
over the years. The set list - I must admit it - was
very well balanced: a perfect mix of old and recent
music, of rock and acoustic pieces, of instrumentals
and songs. I was particularly happy hearing Roots To
Branches, In The Grip Of and Love Story, and even
enjoyed one of the Tull songs I never cared much for:
Bungle In The Jungle. The songs sounded very powerful
and energetic. I never heard them play Aqualung like
this. It seemed to me that everything they played was
stripped down to its essence; everything that wasn't
needed was left out. Hence perhaps the impact of
these songs: while I heard them so often before they
now all sounded very fresh, powerful and driven. Even
the band was in its presentation sober, "to the
point", a kind of no-nonsense approach. No stage
antics (apart from the Hare that seemed totally out
of place): it was I think Jethro Tull in its
essential form. It really rubbed off on the audience.
Behind me two guys were singing there lungs out,
people were waving and clapping and I never saw a
Dutch Tull-audience behaving like that. Suddenly I
realised that for most people in the audience the
Tull magic still works. Hurray! Chapeau BTW for the
people who did the lighting job!
Then there was a pleasant surprise: just before
Aqualung they played a piece I never heard before,
not even on the boots I'm working through at the
moment. A beautiful fairytale like piece, however
underpinned by Martin's guitar and Jon's bass. I
would learn more about that later.
were the pieces Tull played during the 110 minutes
ROOTS TO BRANCHES
THICK AS A BRICK
HUNT BY NUMBERS
THE HABANERO REEL
THE WATER CARRIER
BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE
PIBROCH Martin Barre Instr.
FARM ON THE FREEWAY
MEDLEY SONGS FROM THE WOOD / TO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL/
IN THE GRIP OF STRONGER STUFF
LOCOMOTIVE BREATH / LIVING IN THE PAST
crowd was very enthusiatic during the concert and all
worked well, apart from the occasional discords
between flute and keyboard. At the end of the concert
the audience stood up and granted Tull a 10 minute
standing ovation! As if they had attended a classic
concert of extraordinary quality......, but then they
did of course ;-)
The surprises weren't over yet: my friend Gerrit de
Geus had managed to get me a backstage pass. For the
first time in 33 years I would meet the Headmaster.
We went down the catacombs of Vredenburg
Muziekcentrum and waited talking Tull over a beer. I
got aquinted to Bert Maessen (known from his JT info
& bootleg review magazine "That's not the
way Ian planned it!!") and André Meier, the
only Dutchman who is allowed to take pictures
backstage). Then Kenny Whylie checked us out and only
10 people were allowed to stay around. We saw Andy
hurry through the hallway ("Let me change
first.."), looked out for Martin and Jon who
were vanished and waited.
30 minutes Kennie invited us as a group of 4 to meet
Ian. This was THE moment. I introduced myself, passed
onto him a flyer with the URL's of the 5 best
European Tull-sites. He knew Cup Of Wonder and smiled
and thanked me for all the work (blush). He was very
friendly, relaxed and well composed but tired. I
asked him to sign my copy of the english/german
edition of The Jethro Tull Songbook, which he did and
he asked me where I got it, then adressed Kennie and
ordered him to order 25 copies!
André photographed us and then my turn was over.
Meeting The Man after 33 years......
© André Meier
While Gerrit and I walked down the hall we caught a
glimpse of Doane in a room, where he ate his chicken
and salad. While Gerrit asked him to sign an album, I
asked him about tonights gig's quality. He said this
was the best gig of the tour yet: everything worked
well and it all came together as it was meant to be.
Gerrit asked him about the new tune they played just
before Aqualung. Doane explained that this had just
been written and was a combination of two music
pieces joined together, composed while on the road
and played for the first time! So we had a primeur in
Utrecht. Then Kennie came in and said: "Hey,
this is this man's time off", but Doane replied
"I invited them". He was very friendly and
we talked about 15 minutes. He explained he was very
busy working on the new Tull-album (for which
recording sessions will take place between the
intervals during this tour), on other musicans
material and on his own project for which he took a
mobile studio with him.
decided to leave the man to finish his late supper
and wished him all the best for the tour.
lost count of the Tull-concerts I've attented since
1980. But when Gerrit dropped me off in my town I
realised that not one evening with Jethro Tull was
alike to another. Tired but satisfied I hit my bed.
* Jan Voorbij