Ian Anderson, frontman of the legendary band Jethro Tull, was Sunday night at UCLA's Royce Hall for an amazing show. For almost three hours, the mad one-legged long-bearded flutist accompanied by his band and a dozen of violoncellists played a mix of classical music and old Jethro Tull hits.
Ian's skills at the flute are still incredible and it's a real pleasure to see him jumping around on stage, dancing on one leg, joking with the other members of the band. He seemed to have a little more trouble staying on pitch than during his youth, but his overall performance was still outstanding. The rest of the band showed some great skills too, tastefully complementing the work of the orchestra and of Ian.
Lucia Micarelli, special guest for this show in Los Angeles, showed an incredible stage presence. Her amazing perfomance proved that violin can be a very powerful instrument that fits perfectly in a rock band. Lucias interpretation of "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin was greeted by a standing ovation in the Royce Hall.
The combination of Jethro Tulls complex musical structure and the support of the symphonic orchestra worked really well and was sometimes very similar to the sound of the early days of the band.
Here is Ian Andersons take on the topic:
"The object here is not to force together unlikely combatants in unholy musical matrimony [...]. The Rock band and Orchestra thing goes way back to the early days of Progressive Rock in the late sixties. As the acoustic musician of Jethro Tull, I prefer a more sympathetic synthesis of classical and acoustic guitar, piano and sympathetic percussion, drums and bass together with the traditional orchestral instruments. This is a more ambient setting where all of the musicians can leave the theatre with both eardrums and dignity intact! We try for a vigorous rock feel without brute force volume."
Ian Anderson is currently doing an international tour with dates in Europe (Germany and Israel) and the US until the end of October. Highly recommended.