Written by Dave Clements
ImageAfter a great week of music, night after night, that included Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Paul Thorn, Delbert McClinton, Marc Ford (formerly of The Black Crowes), and Michael Grimm neither my wife nor I were anxious to head back out knowing we had over an hour drive across town on a Sunday night to get to the show.  Not to mention that Sunday had already been filled with an early morning round of golf, then participation in a 6 hour community art show, and an hour in my office processing a week’s worth of photos.  Something however,  in the back of my mind for many, many years now, had been tugging on me to go see this mysterious, not well known Jethro Tull – was it a guy, a group, and where did Ian Anderson fit into the story?

Little did I know what we were getting into when the lights went down at 8 pm sharp at the beautiful Stafford Centre in Stafford, Texas.  I would guess that neither did the sold out crowd that was on hand.

This show wasn’t  anything like what we thought it would be. As I am sure you can tell but what I’ve just shared above, we see lots of bands perform in many settings.  And we have never seen anything that compared to this EVENT.  And indeed it was an EVENT of major proportions.  I would describe it as a Super Broadway Musical that collided with a World Class Troupe Of Musicians and the Brilliant Mastermind  Artist  Sir Ian The Magnificent.

Oh My ,Oh My, Oh My….I really don’t know where to start.  I have never been more entertained in my life watching a show and listening to music. Sure I liked some of this groups 60’s/70’s music but I can say that about a lot of bands.  Never and I mean Never have I seen a show that was as beautifully orchestrated as this one.  Ian Anderson is 66 years old however he is no ordinary Senior Citizen. He dances around the stage as if he is 30 years younger, a classical dancer balancing on one foot as if he’s crossing a tightrope.

Anderson’s magic instrument of choice is his flute, a flute he plays like no one else on earth.  When he wasn’t prancing his way through the musical stories being told on stage, he was behind the mic providing his share of the vocals. 

We are left to speculate that perhaps these vocals have lost some of the range and power they once had.  We assume this lead to the mind boggling, awesome concept and presentation that was presented to us.  A state of the art, synchronized video display was flashed in the background for much of the night reminding of the days when Ian and the band had crazier clothes and more hair.

ImageWhether it was to counteract the passage of time or just some other brilliant brainstorming, we were in for a fascinating treat.  Enter young Mr. Ryan O’Donald playing the role of alter ego and singing parts of the songs with the youthful range of the Ian of old.  I know there are likely some people who didn’t like this approach to the songs of Jethro Tull, especially if they are purists who feel that this approach is flawed.   I understand that point of view however I don’t subscribe to it.  I thought this technique made for a much better musical experience.  It was pure genius to weave Ian and Ryan together in this dance. It was just plain mesmerizing to witness the combination of video, dance, music, and vocals in this perfectly orchestrated and synchronized way!  My hat is off to whoever came up with the whole idea and all of those who pulled it off and made it work.  Two big thumbs up to Ian and Ryan for weaving this story, this EVENT, together flawlessly.  It was incredibly presented, totally understood, and thoroughly enjoyed.  Thank you! 

 Before I wrap this review up it’s important to mention that Ian Anderson started the show by playing eight songs off his new album Homo Erraticus, then finished off the first set with two Jethro Tull songs, Bouree and Thick As A Brick.  After a twenty minute break that frankly I needed to catch my breath, we then promptly returned to ten more Jethro Tull songs that included Living In The Past, With You To Help Me, Sweat Dream, Teacher (chosen by Ryan as a favorite to perform), Critques Oblique, Too Old to Rock ‘n’Roll: Too Young To Die, Songs from the Wood, Farm on the Freeway and of course Aqualung, my personal favorite and it seemed the crowd’s too.  They then proceeded to blow everyone away with the encore performance of Locomotive.

I am writing this review the next afternoon and still not quite believing what I experienced the night before. How lucky can one person be to experience such an event, with my bride at my side.  I am blessed this day as a result of someone’s great work.  Thank you Ian Anderson! 

 Until next time remember there is No Time To Kill.