50th Anniversary Tour
Mohegan Sun Arena
September 15, 2019
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
A celebration of legendary Jethro Tull music was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. A night of musical storytelling of 50 years of Jethro Tull, as told by Ian Anderson. There are few bands that have been able to reach that 50 year benchmark. And those that do, have built a musical legacy, Jethro Tull has inspired many musicians of the past fifty years and along the way has entertained generations of music followers.
This night was the last night of United States leg of this 50th Anniversary Tour celebration. The stage was set. The crowd filed in. On the grand screen at the back of the stage was a static display of a 70’s era television set in a matching style living room with a Jethro Tull vinyl album on the shelf and flue on the television set. A retro vibe, as if you were sitting in your living room of decades past. It spoke of what the night would become. An audience tuned in and about to be encapsulated by the music of Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull.
The set was broken up into two parts. Part 1 opened up with “For A Thousand Mothers”, from the 1969 album, Stand Up. The night continued to flow from one Tull song to the next. A musically poetic journey throught the Jethro Tull collection. In between songs, Ian spoke eloquently to the audience, telling stories of the musicians and experience behind the music. Ian was not only a vocalist and musician, he became a story teller, outlining a chronology of the music, story behind some songs, the times and band members through the years.
That was not all. The night included speical musical guests also. The large screen at the back of the stage played recorded clips from other well known musicians introducing songs through the night. Some of the intros through the night consisted of appearances by Joe Bonamassa, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. And even video appearances and song introductions by former Jethro Tull band members. Ian even spoke of a time in 1968 when Tony Iommi played a live performance with Jethro Tull.
An all around great experience. A musical performance backed by the video screen playing various clips that coincided with each song, and the storytelling by Ian through the night. The night was a complete package for any Jethro Tull fan.
After a 15 minute intermission, and direction from Ian to make their way to the merch booth to pick up a t-shirt, the show resumed. Part 2 of the set opened with Steve Harris, Iron Maiden bassist, introducing “Passion Play”. The night flowed through about another hour of Tull music.
The night was coming to a conclusion. It was time for Jethro Tull’s iconic “Aqualung”, as introduced by Slash of Guns N’ Roses, simply saying it is the best song ever. The night closed out with an encore performance of “Locomotive Breath”. Both final songs bringing the crowd to their feet with immense energy from the power of the music.
The band has seen is various cast of musicians through the five decades. The current version of Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull is, of course, Ian Anderson on vocals, flute, guitar and harmonica. A man of many musical talents and a visual entertainer. It was an amazing experience to the legendary Ian Anderson perform. On guitar was Florian Opahle, while maintaining the original sound and stylings of earlly Jethro Tull music, he added a bit more intesity to an assortment of the guitar solos throughout the night. On drums, Scott Hammond. The band’s seventh keyboardist, and John O’Hara. David Goodier on bass and backing vocals.
All together a crisp sounding musical display of the Jethro Tull collection. A night free of cell phone distractoins, mostly in part to the strict no video/audio/photo policy. Which was nice to see at a concert, where everyone was attentive to the performance rather than phones. What felt like a small intimate performance, was not, it was in show in front of a full arena of about 10,000 Tull fans. Ian performed and spoke in such a way that it gave the perception of close intimate performance.
Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull have amassed 30 studio and live albums through the past 50 years. Having sold more that 60 million copies since the band’s first famed performance at the Marquee Club in February of 1968. Over the past five decades, Ian has taken Jethro Tull to the fans in over 3,000 concerts in 40 countries and had typically performed over 100 concerts each year, to long time fans and new fans in the making. Ian Anderson brought a unqiue element to the classic rock genre, the flute. Additionally, the band’s overall sound, musical arrangements and vocals of Ian had set the band apart from other bands of the time. Jethro Tull thrust into the music world, with a unique sound all of its own becoming one of the iconic bands of the 70’s rock era. Jethro Tull created music that has spanned many generations and played on the ears of millions worldwide, from then and to this day. What is great about the longevity of Ian Anderson, is that many generations of music fans can experience a live Jethro Tull Experience as he is still out on the road sharing his music. For the remainder of 2019, Ian Anderson takes the Jethro Tull show back overseas.
For more information on JETHRO TULL, visit: http://jethrotull.com