Live Review: Jethro Tull By Ian Anderson

19 April 2017 | 1:33 pm | Simon Holland

"The timeless Ian Anderson - as mischievous as he is musically gifted - stood upon one leg and delivered a performance for the ages."

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The Perth Concert Hall is a home away from home for serious musicians and framed the mystical, magical journeys of Jethro Tull to a capacity crowd.

The resplendent red velvet curtains, suspended theatre stalls and comfortable seating was an incredibly savvy setting for a crowd now beleaguered by knee issues and achy hips, however, one man stood front and centre and transported the packed house back to the days of free spirits. The timeless Ian Anderson — as mischievous as he is musically gifted — stood upon one leg and delivered a performance for the ages.

The musical journey commenced and a cascade of favourites such as Living In The Past and Heavy Horses dropped early. There is no denying there is nothing like the original LP recording for gritty sonic goodness, however there is a certain magic to hearing the updated styles in the live setting and the power of '60s songwriting blended with a 2017 audiophile's dream venue made for a blissful experience.

Anderson's trademark flute twinkled out the cheeky opening riff to Thick As A Brick and the house lifted with a cheer. Guitarist Florian Opahle ripped out solos during Banker Bets, Banker Wins a trend he would continue through the night including a tremendous rock take on JS Bach's Toccata & Fugue.

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The tea-filled intermission was a short but pleasant affair.

The menacing tones of Sweet Dream erupted, backed by the glorious film stocks of yesteryear on the big screen made for a really powerful track followed by O'Hara's harpsichord tinkling for Pastime With Good Company - an ode to King Henry VIII. 

Following a drum solo the refined crowd turned into a rabble, stomping feet and yelling out their cheers; the transformation back to their youth was complete. Locomotive Breath entered gently and exited as the best track of the night, complete musical satisfaction.

Anderson was a gentleman between songs, welcoming the crowd with a few age-related quips and discussing some of the musical history of each track. This is a band that hovered slightly under the radar during the incredibly fruitful British era, but never stopped producing records or touring. The prolific output resulted in an incredibly rich source to choose favourites from. It was truly a treat to see magicians such as Ian Anderson perform at a level that could only have come from a careerist.