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NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS
16 June 1973
'Disney movies' and a communications breakdown ...
The reporter arrived at the Toronto International Airport two hours after Jethro Tull, and just in time to ride the airport bus with the duty immigration officer.
"They're a weird bunch," the immigration officer mused. "We get a lot of musicians through here, but not many that weird."
The same reporter, two nights later, had occasion to pass Maple Leaf Gardens, home of hockey and Jethro Tull concerts in Toronto, an hour after the Tull concert began.
Several thousand kids romped aimlessly around outside the giant arena, not really knowing why they were there and lingering on only to annoy the crowd-control policemen. Jethro Tull affects different people in different ways.
Inside the Gardens there were some 19,000 hot, sweaty bodies — a full house by Gardens' standards and a good gate by anyone's standards — half smoking pot and the other half trying to breathe the polluted air. In other words, a repeat of last year's sell-out show.
A number of innovations have been added to the Tull line-up, including a movie screen, a movie to fill that screen, and sound equipment which dangles from the arena rafters rather than growing in massive clumps directly in front of the stage.
The movie could have worked better. The idea is that the movie version of Passion Play (a kind of demented Disney vision), with its soundtrack playing full blast through the group's P.A. system, warms up the crowd as a prelude for the band itself.
It's a commendable idea, novel at least, and that alone is worth points in this business.
The trouble was somehow the computer that controls the sound (don't ask why there's a computer for the sound) apparently didn't compute properly, and the soundtrack failed. The band stepped into the breach and provided live music for a time, but finally the movie segment was prematurely terminated.
As for the Jethro live appearance, it was pretty much more of the familiar style the world knows and loves (or, in no small number of cases, detests).
The band wove through their dance routine, the musicians had their individual moments (which brings to mind the question of why every rock show requires a 15 minute drum solo), and the audience either marvelled at the band's intricacy or wondered why everything sounded the same.
Local reviews demonstrated the division of opinion. One of the major papers noted that Tull is the genius of the rock bands. But the other preferred to expound on the seemingly endless repetition of the music. Like we said before, Jethro Tull affects different people quite differently.
And how did Toronto affect Ian Anderson? Lord knows. The band travel with a resident publicist out of the Los Angeles-based super publicity firm of Gibson and Stromberg, but Anderson and company do nothing to make her task easier.
As the publicity material pointed out, Mr. Anderson would not venture public opinions on any matters again this tour.
Thanks to Mike Wain for this article.