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NATIONAL ROCK STAR
12 February 1977
Ian Anderson walked on under a battery of ultra violets to massive applause. "Here's a song my mother taught me," was the brief introduction to 'Wond'ring Aloud'. The rest of the band took their places as required in the song's build-up.
Newcomer David Palmer looked the part in concert pianist tie and tails. Anderson introduced him as "trained at Trinity College of Music but saw the light." The wit is sharp as ever.
But his over-publicised sensitivity to Press criticism after the Passion Play saga will become further misproportioned on this tour if his references to journalists continue to be as frequent as they were here.
"The next number is one from our new album which in spite of what you read in the Press is marvellous," was one of at least four such remarks during the night. 'Jack In The Green' was the first of four cuts from Songs From The Wood that the band performed.
The title track was followed by two medleys — a précis of 'Thick As A Brick' side one and a superb sequence starting with Anderson offstage for an anonymous instrumental, returning for 'New Day Yesterday' complete with classic Anderson flute solo — eyes popping, leg up, mucus flying and snatch breaths providing a rhythm.
The hits kept on coming: 'Bouree', 'Living In The Past', more from 'Thick As A Brick'.
'Aqualung' closed the set, but they came back to do 'Back Door Angels' and 'Wind Up' and back yet again for 'Locomotive Breath'.
You know how it feels: You come home on Cloud Nine after seeing one of your all time fave bands, head straight for the LP pile itching to start the show all over again only to find the recorded article sounds positively tame.
I knew I'd been to a good gig.
Thanks to Mike Wain for this article, and Gerrit de Geus for confirmation of the publication date.