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Jethro Tull Concert in Poland
2004 May 18, Poznan - Arena
Below is a scanned image of my concert ticket showing the five band members of Jethro Tull: Jonathan Noyce, Doane Perry, Ian Anderson, Andrew Giddings, Martin Barre.
However, this is not what they looked like. The bass player had unordered bushy hair, Ian was clean-shaven and without glasses, and Martin looked like a lively old man with his white hair sticking out from under his cap and a long pointed white beard.
Martin Barre - Electric Guitar Master
Martin played his electric guitar with the ease of a long-experienced master showing no signs of age. In fact, I got the impression that he could play the guitar even better now. He definitely demonstrated great skill and proved to all people present that he was powerfully responsible for the sound of Jethro Tull.
Besides being able to play electric guitar Martin Barre simply loves playing electric guitar. I could tell that unmistakably from his body language. In a couple of songs he was switching between electric guitar and mandolin, and my overwhelming impression was that he played the mandolin only because Ian told him to and that he played his electric guitar by free will.
Ian Anderson: Flute vs. Vocal
Ian Anderson's flute playing mastery is growing with his age to compensate for his dropping ability to sing. His voice is no longer a reliable musical instrument. However, this is not a blow to Jethro Tull. Ian knows how to insert flute parts into his songs and he knows how to extend these parts to make the songs even more attractive while giving himself time for his throat to rest. The result is a much more flute-based sound of Jethro Tull - which I personally like very much.
Jethro Tull can still play classic Jethro Tull songs with energy, expertise, and powerful humor. However, this seems to be a greater burden for them now than it used to be - since (in my impression) they deliberately played lower-quality music between their powerful classic tracks. What I mean by lower-quality music is simply the tracks from The Jethro Tull Christmas Album and Ian Anderson's solo album Rupi's Dance. My impression was that these songs were simply restful interruptions between the really demanding songs of classic Jethro Tull. For example, they played God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen between a three-part medley of powerful classic numbers (Songs From The Wood, Too Old To Rock'n'Roll, Heavy Horses) and Budapest (see the concert track listing below).
I'll share another observation concerning the sound of classic Jethro Tull and Ian's solo album Rupi's Dance. The band played Ian's solo song A Week of Moments and to my ears it sounded much better than the original. Martin Barre took the responsibility of making it into a Jethro Tull song and played electric guitar like you can't hear on Rupi's Dance. This, in turn, inspired Ian to play flute in the Jethro Tull way and the other band members filled in to produce quite a good Jethro Tull song.
Jethro Tull is still great
The five members of Jethro Tull appeared to be having a very happy moment in their lives during this concert. They were all playing lively with smiles on their faces and with their body language they indicated that they were consciously receiving ongoing adoration from the audience.
In my opinion the band is still in good form. Ian's flute compensates for his voice and Martin's guitar is electrifyingly powerful. The bass player, the keyboardsman, and the drummer are competent Jethro Tull members.
Concert Track Listing
Concert Trivia for Jethro Tull Connoisseurs