They’ve been around for over 40 years and they’ve still got it. Veterans Jethro Tull enthused the City Hall with a folk rock energy that rolled back the years and left Newcastle wanting more.
Front man Ian Anderson showed that he can still give as good a show as any with a professional performance full of charming eccentricities and a fusion of frantic flute playing.
Support act Saori Jo opened the bill with a captivating blend of subtle piano and tranquil strokes of the electric guitar from Miguel Ruiz. Jo showed an extreme talent not only with her piano playing but her clear oriental vocals were spine tingling, taking you to a place far far away from reality.
When Ian Anderson took to the stage alone with sounds of the sea in the background to begin Dun Ringill, he gave everyone a glimpse of what was to come. From the old faithful to the younger minorities, Tull impressed the audience with a wide variety of songs.
Anderson may be 62, but looking at the stage presence of the man you wouldn’t guess it. It wouldn’t be to anyone’s surprise if, at 72, he is still maintaining the same zealous form onstage. From start to finish he leaped to all corners and managed to keep up with the pace throughout.
Undoubtedly his flute work is at its best but the rest of the band’s musicianship matched it. Budapest was met with rapturous applause upon its finish. One minute Anderson strummed a beautiful acoustic chorus then suddenly picked up his trademark flute and sprung into action dodging from note to note, poised on one leg.
Martin Barre piped in with some serene electric guitar that gave any die-hard Tull fan the reassurance that he is one of the best guitarists around.
Unfortunately, with age, Anderson does struggle to cope with the higher notes, many of which are probably beyond him. It still didn’t take anything away from amazing renditions of Songs From The Wood and the popular classic Aqualung.
Dismiss them at your own loss. Jethro Tull have not only survived as a fantastic example of concise British folk rock, but they have gone on to demonstrate a maturity with age that many bands would kill for.