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25 August 1973


Jethro Tull, one of the hottest attractions in rock, is going to suspend concert appearances indefinitely to concentrate on the making of a film, a decision due in part, its manager says, to the adverse critical response to the group's recent A Passion Play production.

Terry Ellis, the group's manager, said all Jethro Tull's engagements after the September 29 end of its current U.S. tour have been cancelled. The group will take a month's vacation before beginning work on the feature-length musical written by Ian Anderson. The film is expected to be released in September of 1974.

In announcing the concert suspension, Ellis stressed both the group's strenuous work schedule and its disappointment in the critical — though not necessarily public — reaction to A Passion Play.

"The group has been working continuously for nearly six years during which their total recreation time has not been more than a month," Ellis said.

"In particular, the effort the members put into preparing for their concert appearances has been immense. The preparation of the music and production of A Passion Play began a year and a half ago and is, in their opinion, they best they have ever done.

"The abuse heaped upon the show by the critics has been bitterly disappointing to the group and, illogical as it may be to identify the opinions of reviewers with those of the public, it has been increasingly difficult for the group to go on stage without worrying whether the audiences are enjoying what it is doing.

"This has been a great burden and under the circumstances — with the film already in the planning stages — the group thought it better to cancel all concert plans ... concentrate on the film and to reconsider the situation after that."

As part of its U.S. tour, some 75,000 persons paid upwards of $400,000 to see Jethro Tull during its unprecedented four-night stand last month at the Inglewood Forum. No other rock group has ever played more than two nights at the 18,699-seat facility. So, the group's concert hiatus comes at the peak of its commercial power. But it may be for the best.

The best portions of A Passion Play, a long, monotonous, rather inaccessible work, involved two short films made by Anderson, a serious, talented artist whose ambitions have exceeded his creations. His most effective album, for me, was Aqualung in 1971.



Thanks to Annette Jones for this article.