Live Reviews

Live review: Jethro Tull @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and his magic flute. Photo by Marcelo Hernandez, AP.
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and his magic flute. Photo by Marcelo Hernandez, AP.

I remember well playing the hell out of a Jethro Tull 8-track, particularly “Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day,” until the tape unraveled. Tull didn’t do “Skating Away” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last night, but the band’s classic rock on the Rocks entertained entirely, beginning with “Thick as a Brick.”

A common misconception confuses the band’s front man, Ian Anderson, with Jethro Tull. Not so: The British band immortalizes an 18th century English agricultural pioneer. Yet given Anderson’s commanding court jester jinks, it’s understandable that people associate the band with him. Fit as a fiddle, the impish Anderson pranced, paraded, skulked, and, yes, played flute standing on one leg. IA, as he signs himself, introduced flute to rock and rocks the instrument like nobody else. The Jimi Hendrix of flautists, his merry-making minstrel act included rollicking runs, flutter-tongue trills, even snorts. Anderson nimbly played strings, too.

Anderson’s Scottish roots lend a lilting Celtic air to ironic songs fusing blues, jazz, classical and full-on rock: boisterous live music. Original band member Martin Barre still wails on lead guitar. Guitarist Magazine listed Barre on “The 20 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time” for his work on “Aqualung.” Upon hearing the song’s iconic first six notes, the crowd immediately combusted.

Based on abundant audience tie-dye and grizzled hair, Tull fans are not “Too Old To Rock and Roll,” but they didn’t complain much when the band failed to reappear for an encore. On the Rocks, Tull demonstrated why their 30-odd albums have sold more than 50 million copies.

Click here to read our feature: “Jethro Tull and the day the music died.”

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and our relationship status on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

Colleen Smith’s critically acclaimed first novel “Glass Halo” is now available as an e-book, in addition to hardcover. Her new nonfiction work “Laid-Back Skier” will be released for autumn 2011..