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11 October 1969


Jethro Tull were magnificent at the Royal Albert Hall last Wednesday [1 October]. Their reputation filled the hall; their performance brought the thousands to their feet, stomping and shouting for more. The evening was one of fine music. My overall impression was that possibly Britain is at last moving towards a time when bands can embark on concert tours with confidence. They will draw large, discerning crowds who come to listen.

This autumn we have already been blessed with successful concerts by Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Deep Purple, Ray Charles and Tom Paxton. For music lovers, this has been a good time to be alive. I am convinced the market is now there for gifted entertainers.


Before Jethro Tull launched into their first song, 'Nothing Is Easy' off Stand Up, Ian Anderson stood and rambled hilariously into the mike. He apologised for all the talk, saying:

"Sorry about the chat, it's an ego thing — terrible thing — caught it in the States."

This was to be an anti-hard sell show.

As soon as they started working, Anderson became really alive. He contorted himself into strange positions, his legs winding round each other like two mating snakes. His familiar breathy, talking flute stuttered a solo and then he swayed across the stage, knees bent, like a hippy Groucho Marx.

'The Ray' [?] also from Stand Up, was introduced as starting nicely "but degenerating into the usual crash, bang, wallop." Once again Ian's flute was featured. Between frenzied blasts he would leap back from the mike as if an electric shock had burnt his lips. A hand whipped the mangled mane of hair back from his eyes shining with wit and enthusiasm and then he would make another assault on the mike. You might feel that I was paying too much attention to Ian, but on stage he tends to have a hypnotic hold on his audience. But every member of the band had a chance to prove his worth.


Glenn Cornick played through a nice bass solo, while Clive Bunker on drums had the stage to himself for over five minutes. Martin Barre is a fine guitarist. He is not on an ego trip. He plays with the group, rather than against it. However at certain times, noticeably during 'We Used To Know', his style really shone through.

Throughout, the standard was high and they slipped easily from one mood to another. 'Fat Man' was played on flute, mandolin and drums. Their next single, which will be released on the new Chrysalis label, titled 'Sweet Dreams', pounded along with a heavy stomping beat. To me it seemed pretty commercial, despite doubts in certain quarters.

Earlier, Savoy Brown impressed me with their ability to whip up enthusiasm in the audience. They literally had everyone clapping their hands and yelling the traditional 'Yeah!' I don't know how they got through, but they did a great job. The surprising thing was that I found their music a little uninspired and predictable, despite some nice guitar work.

Terry Reid opened the show. Although the group's act lacked the power it has in a small club, they came through it well and did their job of preparing the crowd for all the excitement and entertainment that was to come.



Thanks to Elwyn Davies for this article