It was a big weekend that weekend, OK ? I had my first experience of Jethro Tull on the night of Saturday the 11th. Quite a good gig, and yet again I went with no prior knowledge of the band's material, which I'm finding increasingly bizarre when the rest of the crowd's in a retrospective mood. For influential, revered and cornerstone dinosaurs of rock, I was a bit surprised at how low key the show was – for starters, we were all seated… kinda changes the vibe of a room. Being unfamiliar with the band's original presentation style I can't really say whether they've mellowed, but it really felt like an audience with someone's grandparents – just the way that Ian Anderson addressed the crowd; it seemed as if he's been called on to babysit the grandkiddies from time to time…
Aside from that disjunction I thought the gig was fantastic – nice & laid back, almost jazzy, music but with a pulse and momentum and a sense of all fitting together really nicely. There were a couple of dicey moments, such as their tribute to Mozart (in the form of a medley called “Mo's Art”) which felt a lot like being at a slightly rocked-up live performance of Hooked On Classics.
In addition to their band lineup they had a fairly cute 22 year old violinist with them and it was apparently at her behest that they play a particular tune which had “eastern influence”. With that slightly cryptic introduction hanging in the air, Lucia fires off on some froody violin noodling, and just when we're wondering where it's all leading the rest of the band kick in with some filthy power chords and start playing Kashmir ! Interesting, I thought, because one of Jethro Tull's signiture pieces was a cover of JS Bach's “Bourree”, which turns up also in some Led Zeppelin guitar solos, and could possibly have been a nod to JT rather than JSB. If that's the case, then the Kashmir connection makes sense. Or maybe Lucia just thought it was a cool song.