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Published on: 12/11/08 7:44 AM

Feature: When Jethro Tull Rocked Bangalore

    Rock and roll will never die                                                          
For days before the show hit town, there were groups of people going around Bangalore with a beatific ‘It’s-a-miracle -no-less’ look on their faces. The group gathered others like  them, who gathered others like them and then, a few thousands in strength, they shuffled across town to watch  the miracle take place.

The miracle materialised in the shape of five not-so-youngmen of a not-so-new group, Jethro Tull, who jammed the airwaves at Palace Grounds last Saturday night, giving of their best to a very appreciative crowd.

It was the revenge of the pre-MTV nerds. All around, one could see a generation reliving their wild days, there was  reminiscence in the air and one thirty-something man had  tears of joy making tracks down his cheeks. Grunge was  worn more as getting back into the groove’ rather than getting with it.

Ian Anderson got his show on the road after a mere half-hour’s delay. Immediately after which the KEB got their non-show on the road, with a power breakdown, upon which Anderson had a few dry comments to make. Before the crowd got really restive, the generators swung into action and all was well.

That was pretty much the state of affairs for the next two hours as the audience was treated to a 25th anniversary set of Tull classics: Songs from the wood, Crossroads, Locomotive breath, Living in the past, Stormy Monday blues, Too old to rock  and roll, Too young to die, Budapest, some terrific solo pieces by Doanne Perry on the drums, with Martin Barre and Dace Pegg on the electric and acoustic guitars, respectively.

The star of the show was Anderson. But, of course.

The man who came down to interface with Indian Tullheads, as well as to indulge in a passion for Indian  food, showed that age and hard rockin’ may have slipped gravel into his voice but he still had what it takes,  and then some.

He pranced around, struck the semi-Nataraja pose familiar to his fans, kept up a  mocking banter (“At my age I can afford to be very wry”), played the guitar, plugged his just-for-India compilation of Tull music and, of course, played charismatic Pied Piper  to all gathered there.

The flute drove the audience wild, taking some down  familiarpaths, giving others a glimpse into the magic  that makes Anderson a rocker with a difference. The silver wand took centrestage, it overshadowed all else,  it wove a thin fluid line with laserbeam strength from Anderson to the audience.

The spell held good when Tull said their goodbyes, left the stage, came back for a second round, left for good this time… and the crowd slowly came out of the daze.

The lighting, handled by Roger Drego, was superb, almost in rhythm with the music. The frisking at the entrance gates served a good purpose, too.

The venue,  though, raised a few grumbles from those who wanted  to hear Tull in as laid-back a fashion as possible i.e., sprawled on the ground maybe. Which was impossible on the level playing field of the Palace Grounds.

That such a big crowd was so tuned into what was happening onstage to want to bother with any routine misbehaviour is testimony to both Bangalore’s music-loving public and the power of Ian Anderson, the Man with the Magic Flute.

And, oh yes, the evening had a message: that rock and roll will never die.

The Jethro Tull show was sponsored by BPL India and organized by Performance Arts Trust.

This ran in THE TIMES OF INDIA of 11 Dec 2008.

Related Links:

Humour: After the Jethro Tull concert in Bangalore

Feature: Tribute to Freddie Mercury

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Sheila Kumar • December 11, 2008

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