013, Tilburg, Thick As A Brick

ANDERSON, IAN, 2013-11-11 (NL+E)
013 - Tilburg
maandag, november 11, 2013

Ian Anderson staat al ruim 45 jaar op het podium en nog altijd dansend en kruipend. Hij is niet alleen springlevend, maar ook multimiljonair. Deze levende legende brengt met een vijftal doorgewinterde muzikanten de beide albums Thick As A Brick en Thick As A Brick 2 onder de noemer Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson plays Thick As A Brick.

Voor de pauze speelt de band uiteraard het album uit 1972 met een enthousiast fluitende Ian Anderson die het evenwel qua zang liet afweten. Hij zat er geregeld naast en hij haalde met name de hoge noten gewoon niet. Jongeling Ryan O'Donnell bleek gelukkig over een heel behoorlijke stemgeluid te beschikken, maar hij mocht niet meer vertolken dan hem door de grote baas was toebedacht. Het geluid van zijn microfoon stond helaas iets zachter en wat minder kristalhelder afgesteld dan die van Anderson. Het was een interactieve voorstelling waarbij de muziek zo nu en dan verrijkt werd met hier en daar een bescheiden stukjes theater op het toneel die deels betrekking hadden op het verhaal in de muziek en deels amusante beelden toonden op het grote scherm achter de band. Daarop zag je onder meer Ian Anderson die via dit beeldmateriaal ook nog een duit in het zakje deed en, zoals te verwachten, niet gespeend van enige humor. Verder trad ook nog Ians favoriete violiste Anna Phoebe op die zogenaamd via Skype mee speelde. Na de pauze was er een klein stukje toneel waaruit men een duidelijke boodschap kon destilleren: kijk uit voor prostaatkanker, oudere heren! De zang bleek nu iets beter verzorgd en het publiek kon in het niet geheel uitverkochte 013 met volle teugen genieten van de uitstekende instrumentalisten en kreeg als toegift een heerlijk uitgesponnen versie van Locomotive Breath. Het lijkt er op dat Anderson werkelijk alles in de hand heeft, behalve zijn stem en dat is wat zuur want voor de rest klopt alles perfect!"


Ian Anderson - Thick As A Brick, 013, Tilburg, the Netherlands, November 11, 2013

Ian Anderson is performing on stage for more than 45 years and he 's still dancing, standing on one leg, crawling around the stage, very much alive and he's a multimillionaire: a truly a living legend. He is the only remaining founder member and almost sole contributor to all the songs of Jethro Tull.

In 1972, a stunning album saw the light of day called Thick As A Brick. A concept album about a certain fellow called Gerald Bostock. In those days it was a daring effort and in effect Jethro Tull suddenly was proclaimed to be a progressive rock band. Ian Anderson always kept full control over all his activities, whether it concerned Jethro Tull, his contributions to other artists recordings or his solo works: he was the undisputed leader. Exactly forty years after this groundbreaking album, Anderson decided it was time for a change again and said goodbye to some of his former band mates, one of them being Martin Barre, guitarist for Jethro Tull for 42 years! As a solo artist he came up with the widely acclaimed sequel to Thick As A Brick, namely Thick As A Brick 2. It contains very nice original music in the vein of the earlier days of Jethro Tull and at some occasions referring to the original album. Together with five young but experienced musicians Anderson started a tour last year to perform both of the albums as Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson plays Thick As A Brick.  Seeing many more people coming to his shows than before, he proved that business wise that his decision had been a very smart move and an excellent choice.

The stage in Tilburg was empty until some long coated workers started cleaning up, sweeping the floor and checking all equipment: they turned out to be the band  members playing with Ian: David Goodier (bass, double bass, backing vocals). He also played with Anderson solo. John O'Hara (orchestral conductor, keyboards, accordion). He met Anderson in 2003 and worked with him since the Rubbing Elbows tour on piano and accordion subsequently recording on Rupi’s Dance. Since that time John toured with Ian's band and scoring, conducting and playing Ian’s orchestral concerts. Florian Ophale (guitars) has been touring with Ian Anderson in various parts of the world and playing with him on the orchestral and solo tours. Scott Hammond (drums, percussion) he toured with Jethro Tull, Greg Lake and Justin Hayward among others. Ryan O'Donnell (vocals, stage antics) is a young actor and the 'alter ego vocalist' for Ian. He met Ian through John O'Hara and sang with Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) among others.

The regulations for photographers were extremely strict and my colleague Bert Treep (iO Pages) and myself were quite fortunate to have been granted a photo pass. We were able to photograph from the right side of the stage for a designated period of ten minutes. So I haven't been able to shoot the entire show and I didn't get an opportunity to take a decent photo of Scott Hammond for that reason. Before the break the band performed  the original album Thick As A Brick. The introduction came from the big screen above the band where the man himself posed as Dr. Max Quad, a  shrink treating Gerald Bostock. A humoristic and an original way to introduce the band. The rendition of the old music from 1972 was stunning: very good sound quality. Just a few minor adjustments needed in the first few minutes and a crystal clear sound from Ian's microphone: an advantage on one side because the amplification provided an excellent sound quality but on the other hand could not conceal the fact that Ian is no longer capable singing this music from the seventies, despite the fact Ryan O'Donnell took over many parts of the vocal lines. Personally I thought it had been better of Ryan had been equipped with a similar microphone as Ian's because Ryan's microphone provided a more muffled and less clear and less loud sound quality. Although the musicians made up any shortcomings on the vocal parts, still it was sad to realize Anderson's voice, a so characteristic and splendid voice had become so fragile that he sang out of tune on a number of occasions. His flute playing on the contrary was astonishingly good. All the moves were there, the expressions on his face: just as he did decennia ago. Taking the whole stage of course Ian was the centre of the performance, singing, playing the flute or the acoustic parlour guitar. On the screen a variety of images, partly related to the album - the famous news paper! - or shots from that era (Biggles) or related to the story or the history of Anderson.

In the midst of Thick As A Brick part 1 there was a so-called Skype call  to violinist Anna Phoebe who was too busy with her young child to come along on all the performances. She delivered her violin part to the show. Further hilarious moment via the screen were Ian, acting like a 'posh bloke in the garden', entertaining the audience with his remarks and trying to control a cat and dog running around. 

After the break Ian returned with a sketch involving his own merchandise salesman and someone from the audience. His focus was to warn older man for the dangers of prostate cancer, a disease causing the loss of too many friends, so he stated. Obviously Thick As A Brick part 2 (TAAB2) had been composed suiting his vocal abilities of this day and age thus Ian's performance of TAAB2 was much better. Together with the shots on the screen, the theatrics and his marvelous musicians it was an evening well-spent. The encore was a superb version of the classic Locomotive Breath with a nice video on the screen accompanying the music. To be able to run around the stage and playing the flute like Ian did, requires a state of health most people of 66 would be jealous of. Only criticism on this show could be Anderson's vocal performance but to be able to hear the music from 1972 with this excellent sound quality and from a comfortable chair in a nice venue like 013 was a true joy.

In conclusion: TAAB & TAAB2 had been an equally outstanding as well as memorable event.

Set List:

Thick as a Brick, Part 1 (Jethro Tull song), Thick as a Brick, Part 2 (Jethro Tull song)


From a Pebble Thrown, Pebbles Instrumental, Might-Have-Beens, Upper Sixth Loan Shark, Banker Bets, Banker Wins, Swing It Far, Adrift and Dumbfounded, Old School Song, Wootton Bassett Town, Power and Spirit, Give Till It Hurts, Cosy Corner, Shunt and Shuffle, A Change of Horses, Confessional, Kismet in Suburbia, What-ifs, Maybes and Might-Have-Beens

Encore: Locomotive Breath