|11:07 pm - Living in the Past for an evening|
Went to see Ian Anderson perform tonight at his only NYC appearance of the "Orchestral Jethro Tull" tour and had a marvelous time.
The concert was a mix of works from both his solo albums as well as those of Jethro Tull. It started off with "Eurology" from "Rupi's Dance" then the classic "Living in the Past", later followed by two eclectic sets of "Anderson-ized" bluegrass, tango, flamenco and classics like Bach's "Bourée", Fauré's "Pavane" and a Mozart medley interspersed with Tull tunes like "Cheap Day Return", "Mother Goose", "Thick as a Brick", "Aqualung", "Budapest" and "Life is a Long Song", among others.
There was a small chamber orchestra on stage with Ann Marie Calhoun on violin playing a starring role, second only to Anderson. She did quite a few of the bluegrass-influenced numbers -- since I like "old tyme fiddlin'" I was fine with that, but to me, this really was quite a bit more attention than she deserved -- she took up a lot of the stage time I personally would rather have had be Anderson's.
I'm a huge fan of his music and have every studio album put out by Jethro Tull or by him as a solo project and quite a few of the compilations and boxed sets that include tracks not on the studio albums, as well as owning several Jethro Tull DVDs. I've also seen him perform several times live, both as a solo act as well as with Jethro Tull.
Most of those prior performances had been at the Beacon Theater and this time he was playing a smaller, more intimate venue at Lincoln Center. I'd gotten a ticket just a few days ago and was incredibly lucky in that the seat I had was right up front and a few seats away from the center, so for much of the concert Ian Anderson was only about three feet away from me while he was playing or singing -- I was so close I could see the pattern detail on his tone-on-tone black vest.
He gave an incredibly dynamic performance, dashing about the stage from one side to the other, looking like a rakish pirate in a sleeveless white shirt with black vest, trousers and boots topped off with a solid black headscarf as he bounded here and there and pounced on notes of music as a kitten does string. He did his trademark flute-playing-on-one-foot pose a number of times and looked absolutely enticingly erotic with muscular bare arms as he danced about as though he were closer to sixteen than sixty.
Since I was so close, I had the chance to discover that he also has an incredibly expressive face while performing. Being usually up in the balcony of the Beacon, I could never tell how intensely he gazes at the audience as he sings and plays, engaging them as he entertains, eyebrows raised one moment, lowered the next -- it was delightful to watch. I'd seen bits of that on the DVDs I have, which are more video than concert footage, but from what I saw, he is just as vibrant an entertainer now as he was decades ago when he sold out huge venues all over the world -- age has not diminished the vigour of his performance in the least.
It was an excellent show and worth every penny spent -- the encore of "Locomotive Breath" was just grand, with the theater lighting flashing on and off and changing colors, giving a better overall light show than I remember from when he'd played the Beacon. I also liked the theater-in-the-round type seating for the upper levels, which gave the place a very intimate feel. I certainly hope that Ian Anderson plays at this venue again sometime, since I like it soooo much more than the Beacon -- and the acoustics were better too.
Current Mood: happy
Current Music: "Living in the Past" by Jethro Tull