Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

04 November, 2004

Too Old to Rock'n'Roll?

Although I was disappointed with the interview falling through, I was pleased to have been able to meet Andy and have hung around backstage. Going into the theater, I held the door open for some college age hippie types. It was nice to see some younger folks going to a Tull show as it seems that the audiences are usually made up of middle aged nostaligia seekers. I weaved through throngs of people and found my seat. The interior of the Overture Center was nice enough and the theater itself was pleasant, if a bit spartan. I had hoped for more decoration but it was not to be. Still, I could look forward to the acoustics. I was in the middle of a row, squeezed in tight by aging Baby Boomers who had no intention of activity beyond applauding. As the show went on, it was readily apparent that there was an abundance of wives who were dragged to the show by their husbands or who refused to let them go without them. The woman next to me displayed absolutely no interest whatsoever in the concert as she sat there with her arms folded for most of it. Why waste $50 like that? With such lethargic concert goers on all sides, I felt uncomfortable. If I were to have stood up and shook my booty, I would have been yelled at to sit down because I was blocking someone's view. Not that there was room to move anyway but it's the thought that counts.

Tull's performance was qutie good. The show started with "Life's A Long Song" which elicited much applause from the appreciative folks. After it died down, Ian congratulated us on our "new" president. As you can imagine, this drew a thunder of boos. He then commented that the new prez looked curiously like the old one. The boos were even louder. Later in the show, drummer Doane Perry, who is American, told the audience that he was grumpy because of the election result.

But the was not political. I was pleased that they did "Jack-in-the-Green". Not only is it a great song, but I have Jack tattooed on my skin. The tour was touted as a chance to see & hear songs rarely or never performed live and so they played "Slipstream", from Aqualung. Although it was neat to hear it, a song from the latter category, it's a very short and fairly insignificant piece in the Tull catalog. They did, however, follow it up with "Mother Goose", a song rarely played live until recently. Both Andy Giddings and Martin Barre added recorder which was a neat touch. The first (and acoustic) set ended with an energized "Bouree".

The electric set was fun but the setlist proved disappointing. Ian's comments at Tull's website indicated that "Hymn 43", a song not performed since 1971, was to be in the mix. Unfortunately, it was not to be last night. It was also unfortunate that they relied so heavily on material from Aqualung. They performed it almost in its entirety. Only "Hymn 43" and "Up to Me" were missed. Granted, most of the crowd enjoyed this but they probably rarely venture beyond that horrid radio format, classic rock. Still, I enjoyed the dynamics of "My God" as well as the flute soloing in the middle. And "Locomotive Breath" is always fun. I could do without hearing "Aqualung" ever again, though. The highlight of the electric set for me was "Farm on the Freeway". It's just a great hard rock song with lots of loud guitar and flute. I hadn't seen that tune live since 1989 so it was a real treat for me.

The performance was good but the crowd was a real downer for me, at least those sitting in my immediate area. There were a handful of times when the crowd showed some genuine enthusiasm. And, at one point, a womyn yelled, "Hey sexy knickers!" But it was sad that it wasn't until the encore - "Locomotive Breath" - that people got out of their seats and only briefly at that. Next time I hope to sit somewhere a bit more spacious when I see them.

On a technical note, the set was not plagued with technical problem as was Monday's show in Iowa. And the sounds in Overture Hall was really good. I rued not bringing my recorder with me as it would have made a nice recording. I wasn't checked for devices and the people around me were so staid that there would have been little crowd noise.

Anyway, I went home both frustrated and satisfied.
|| Palmer, 6:07 PM


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