November 4, 2014

Prog Rock Concert Review: Ian Anderson At The Palace Theater-Albany NY

Ian Anderson And The Best of Jethro Tull
In Concert At The Palace In Albany, NY
November 2, 2014

Ian Anderson (Flute, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals), David Goodier (Bass guitar and double bass), John O’Hara (Orchestral conductor, piano, keyboards and accordion), Florian Opahle (Guitar), Scott Hammond (Drums and percussion) and Ryan O’Donnell (Vocals and stage antics) are all part of the Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull lineup in present day. They perform solo material from Anderson’s latest release and some of the best of Jethro Tull since the band’s inception.

Last evening at the beautiful Palace Theater, one of my favorite venues in Albany NY, Anderson and his marvelous band entertained a packed house. I got my T shirt and tour book keepsakes and even a bonus shirt that I gave to some unsuspecting fan as a gift. It’s always a joy to do some random nice thing to a total stranger, try it sometime, it feels good. The Holiday season is rapidly approaching but you don’t need that for an excuse to do a good deed.

It has been 11 years since I sat in an audience to enjoy the music of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. This night was no different than in the past, I looked forward to it for many months. I was not disappointed in the least by the time the show was over.

You know it’s a prog rock concert when you have to wait in a long line to use the men’s room at break and there is literally not one woman in front waiting to use their facilities. This was quite the opposite of most concerts I have attended in the past. This is rather funny actually and we had a good time joking about it in line. Speaking of lines, if you do not want to wait in line to get your car at the end of the concert, I wouldn’t use the parking lot in front of the venue. They give you a ticket, you hand them your keys then you wait in a long line to get your keys back so you can leave! The only good thing about it is there isn’t a mad dash by everyone to leave at the same time. Perhaps that is why they do it that way besides for general security precautions.

It was all worth it in the end though as Ian and his spot on band presented quite a show. They kicked it off with selections from Ian’s solo album Homo Eraticus. What I found interesting and quite enjoyable was the overall multimedia presentation made throughout the show. Prior to the opening song there was a presentation of several bands on a huge screen. I had never been to show that did this before, I thought it was a unique albeit modern way to present different acts to an audience before the main attraction started in lieu of having a solitary opening act.

The show opens with a short film of the band dressed as doctors in a sanitarium and Ian is the disgruntled patient. It is humorous and the band then comes out on stage all dressed as they were in the film then Ian comes out the show begins. It is all so very theatrical and most entertaining. Anderson has a different sense of eccentricity and humor which is very English (even though he is from Scotland). I always found it similar to that dry crazy Monty Python type of comedy yet very original.

Ian still moves across the stage nimbly and plays the flute with one foot carefully placed on his other leg. I thought long ago that by now he would not be doing that once he was headed towards his seventies but he still has a lot left in the tank. At a mighty spry 67 he just keeps on going for the love of the music and the process of creating it. This is what drives the man and keeps thousands of fans coming back for more at every corner of the globe.

The new solo material is as impressive live as it is in the studio. Ian and his band bring it all to life as if it was natural for them to do so. Any great band of musicians is able to translate what is created in the studio into something special and bring it to fruition with new life on the stage. This is what took place all night long.

Many of the classic fan favorites were presented such as “Living In The Past,” “Teacher,” the incredible “Thick as a Brick,” and of course the ultimate curtain closer “Aqualung.” But wait, what about the encore? A rousing interpretation of “Locomotive Breath” magnificently filled the venue with the power of prog rock. It was a rocking good end to one special evening for all in attendance.

This is an amazing group of musicians and the now with added touch of theatrics and the additional voice of Ryan O’Donnell, it gives some added textures to the music and Ian a break once in a while on the vocal duties.

If you are looking for a great night out with friends or loved ones and are open to meeting some friends you have not met yet, give Ian Anderson and his band a try. You will never regret it.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder Prog Rock Music Talk, Write A Music Review, New Age Music Reviews and Rate The Tracks

        Enter the Uninvited
        Puer Ferox Adventus
        The Engineer
        Tripudium Ad Bellum
        The Browning of the Green
        Cold Dead Reckoning
        Thick as a Brick
        Living in the Past
        With You There to Help Me
        Sweet Dream
        Critique Oblique
        Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die
        Songs from the Wood
        Farm on the Freeway
        Locomotive Breath

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