Ian Anderson might sing about a homeless man named Aqualung in the Jethro Tull classic of the same name, but there’s no mention anywhere about his own personal lungs of steel. This man can play a flute like no one else and at 70 years of age, he still rocks the stage like a 20-year-old.
Anderson was full of energy last night when he performed the music of Jethro Tull to a capacity Colosseum crowd in Windsor. Not only was he armed with the Tull music catalog, but the setlist actually dated back to the 16th Century through the song Pastime With Good Company, written by King Henry VIII shortly after his coronation (Tull fans will recognize the song as King Henry’s Madrigal from the 2004 remastered version of Stormwatch).
Just like a 75-year-old bottle of Gordon and MacPhail Generations Mortlach Single Malt Whisky, Anderson keeps getting better with age. He bounces around from side-to-side like a young man with a dream of being a rock star.
For fans in Windsor, his lungs were in fine shape as he plowed through songs like Thick As A Brick, Aqualung, Locomotive Breath, Songs From The Woods and My God. There were some good nuggets in the set list as well, including Farm On A Freeway, Dharma For One and Bourrée. Guitarist Florian Opahle had the opportunity to impress music lovers with some flashy techniques during a heavy metal version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor near the end of the show.
Jethro Tull is a band that defied definition. Usually clumped into the category of progressive rock (a music style they actually helped pioneer), the band goes far beyond such a simple description and often shift to folk rock, heavy metal and even classical influences in the same show. Anderson on his own is no different. The show covered it all and even though the extremely tight four piece band behind Anderson was amazing, it was really a time for the flute to shine.
This was my second time seeing Anderson on stage. The first was in 1997 in Kitchener at the legendary Lulu’s with the full Jethro Tull in tow for a 23-song marathon. While Lulu’s had some sort of crazy aura about it, the sound, stage and presentation at The Colosseum was top notch from start to finish. And in the classiest move ever, he gave full credit to his band and crew with both an audio and video nod.
Whether you’re a fan of Jethro Tull or not, Ian Anderson is the consummate performer and his vibe is fun and enjoyable for all – and even at 70, he’s better than ever.
Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson
Aug. 20, 2017
The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor
Living in the Past
Nothing Is Easy
Thick as a Brick
Farm on the Freeway
Songs From the Wood
Pastime With Good Company
Dharma for One
A New Day Yesterday
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
For more on Ian Anderson or Jethro Tull, visit jethrotull.com.