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MELODY MAKER

23 November 1974

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TULL: ROCKING TO THE LIMITS

Rainbow, London, Thursday / A sell-out / Jethro Tull back in spectacular form after a long spell in doldrums / Musicians smiling / crowd ecstatic.

What a production!! / Glittering costumes / Explosions and props galore / Pan's People kicking off the show in true Top Of The Pops style, sprinkling stardust / Jethro augmented by four lady violinists, classically trained, getting kicks from rocking.

From stage left: Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, with zebra black-and-white striped overcoat and trousers and guitar and double bass, strong focal point / Barriemore Barlow on drums and wearing red shorts / Ian Anderson in a sort of period costume, multi-coloured, playing flute, alto sax, battered acoustic guitar, singing, ruling the stage / Martin Barre on guitar, the butt of Anderson's jokes, unsmiling, tortuous facials, great soloist / John Evan on piano between futile leaps around stage which are aimless and impress nobody / Adequate pianist, spare personality.

Anderson telling jokes not so much risque as lewd / Snorting down his flute / wiping nose with hand / acting out with perfection the role of rock's dirty old man, sitting on a park bench.

Brilliant theatricals and a tight show / Imitation tree and a wooden dog through which Jeffrey does a ventriloquist act of woof woof (Thinks: is this what rock 'n' roll is all about?) Everybody laughing and happy.

Roadies on stage adjusting mikes / girl valet there to cater for Ian's every whim, hands him props and guitar / he eyes her lasciviously / girl dresses up as a rabbit and walks across stage just to demonstrate point of the best song of the night, 'Skating On Thin Ice' / Trouble being taken to drag every ounce of meaning from every line in every song.

Breathtakingly long show: two and a quarter hours on stage / misguided encore, unnecessary, anti-climax / two men have stood up near me, stripped to the waist, wild fans, a great night.

RAY COLEMAN