14th February 2004
Liverpool Royal Court
The seemingly odd inclusion of a Liverpool gig in this list was due to the fact in my Other Life I am also a Groundhopping Blogger (see link top left, if remotely interested). And there was a spell when I was doubling up, as it were: in this instance combining a gig with an FA Cup tie at Tranmere Rovers.
Guitarist Martin Barre was given the warm-up slot for this particular tour, being joined by Willie Porter and various Tullies at different points throughout his eight song slot. It was moderately entertaining; mostly instrumental pieces from his solo albums with a jazzy-lilt to them, such as Empty Café and As Told By.
A few months earlier Jethro Tull had released their Christmas Album, and despite the fact this was now Valentine’s Day, the lads’ clearly saw no reason not to present us with a smattering of tunes from this festive offering. A Christmas Song (obviously) was one, with Pavane, Holly Herald and (most incongruously) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen also aired. One of the performances from Barre’s set earlier in the evening had also been lifted from this collection, I believe.
There was also a medley of late-Seventies songs, with some suspiciously impressive-sounding harmonies during the Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses sections. Jethro Tull lip-synching? Surely not.
Mother Goose, a lesser known delight from the Aqualung album was given an infrequent outing, sandwiched between a brace from Anderson’s most recent solo effort Rupi’s Dance.
I briefly thought another rare and precious thing was going to get dusted down when Andy Giddings’ keyed in the intro to Flying Dutchman, but this swiftly and disappointingly morphed into My God (not one of my favourites). I would have loved the band to have performed Dutchman, not least to hear Giddings’ take on John Evan’s piano work, which I think is the latter's finest for the band. I don’t know much about music theory (bugger all in reality), but his slight delay in executing the wee piano break just after the first line of each verse gets me every time.
The main set closed with Aqualung, at the start of which an extravagantly freckled girl suddenly got to her feet and started dancing, her very long red hair flowing all around her. She turned around and berated the rest of us balcony dwellers in her best Scouse; “Gerrupp ‘n’ Dance!!” We wrinklies remained resolutely seated and attempted to ignore her - except for one lone voice from way back who answered: “We Can’t. We’re too old!”
The final encore was as I had seen at Doncaster last time out. Beginning with Locomotive Breath, the band moved into an instrumental version of Protect and Survive from the A album as Anderson tossed a pair of huge white balloons into the audience. The brief Cheerio closed proceedings out perfectly.
And Ian’s voice, I am pleased to record was just great.
Aqualung (intro)/Living in the Past
Nothing is Easy
A Christmas Song
Farm on the Freeway
A Week of Moments
Songs From The Wood/Too Old to Rock‘n’Roll/Heavy Horses
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Flying Dutchman (intro)/My God
Locomotive Breath/Protect and Survive/Cheerio