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3 October 1970

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Jethro Tull are a hit with blend of the old and new

A total of 4,000 packed into a smoky, sweaty Birmingham Town Hall on Friday to see Jethro Tull, the third date of their current twelve city tour. They came — in two separate performances, one starting at midnight — to see the band, whose stature and reputation has increased so much since they last toured Britain a full year ago, but mostly to see the incredible Ian Anderson.

There was no anti-climax. Tull got a tremendous reception from both houses, and deserved every bit of it. The performance — a delicate blend of old and new material — had a stormy beginning with 'Nothing Is Easy', and continued through the contrasting calm and power of 'My God' to the final crescendo of 'For My Friend Jeffrey' [sic] and 'We Used To Know'.

They played as if they had just come off a long, relaxing holiday, rather than straight from a punishing American tour. Glenn Cornick courted his bass like he was dancing a military two-step, Clive Bunker hammered his drums like they'd hear him in Newcastle, John Evan quietly wilted, and "Fattie" Martin Barre stood back and watched the antics with amusement.

But Ian Anderson towered over them all — a seemingly tireless eccentric, prancing about the stage like a bee-stung dog. He leapt, cavorted, capered and danced like a marionette with its wires crossed, hurtling through every number with a pace which left the audience breathless.

Yet such was his calm and wry intelligence and urbanity as he chatted to the audience in the odd pause between numbers that he almost made you believe his antics were normal. And because of his very dominance of personality, it was almost possible to forget not only his own musical genius, but the talent and highly polished dynamism of the group behind him.

It was still Anderson's show. And at the climax of each performance, 2,000 fans leapt and danced in grotesque parody of the magic dancing Anderson — the pied piper of modern pop music.



Thanks to Matthew Korn for this article