Arriving at Hamer Hall in plenty of time I was able to watch people arrive and I’m guessing from the challenges they had finding their way around a venue they didn’t go to too many recent shows. The audience was very male dominated and most of them heading for retirement age, if they haven’t already reached it.
The band entered the stage to a fanfare with Ian Anderson playing flute in the wings and then making a grand entrance. Their first song was “Living in the Past“, a song in 5/4 time which is unusual for a ‘radio’ song and was a hit for them in the 70s.
Songs that followed in the first half of the show included Thick as a brick, Thick as a brick 2 – Banker Bets, Banker Wins.
Songs From the Wood – more folk music – follow on for the pagan era – Jack in the Green.
Anderson announces “This is a piece from 1969 – 69’s a good number, isn’t it? Except when it gets to 69 & 3/4 that’s what I am now.”
Bourre followed, a crowd favorite and they finished the first half of the show with a song from 1977 – Songs From The Wood.
After interval, the second half started with Sweet Dreams, a single from 1969. There was a song credited to King Henry VIII – “Pastime with good company“. Then The Fruits Of Frankenfield – from the 2015 Tull rock opera
Anderson makes good use of the stage and knows where to stand and hide when featuring other players.
Dharma for one featured a tribute to (original drummer) Clive Bunker’s drum solo – in memory of him. Though Anderson explained “He’s not dead, he’s just a nice guy“.
They made good use of the video screen which was used as their backdrop and at times in the show it was used to feature two artists that weren’t actually there but appeared on the screen singing with the band.
Perhaps their biggest song – Aqualung – was done in a very creative way, half sung by an actor on the video screen. This was cleverly filmed and very effective.
Toccata and fugue featured guitarist Florian Opahle and his Gibson Les Paul, showing his fluidness playing style and and knowledge of classical music. I’d guess his ‘rock’ guitar guy is Gary Moore.
The encore was Locomotive Breath, as expected, which featured footage of steam trains throughout the world.
The band line up was:
Ian Anderson – vocal, flute, acoustic guitar
David Goodie – Bass, vocal
Scott Hammond – Drums
John O’Hara – Piano, vocal
Florian Opahle – Guitar
Ryan O’Donnell – Aqualung “guest vocal”
An interesting thought is that in today’s struggling economic climate is that if the cost of going out wasn’t so high then maybe more people would attend concerts. I.e.: ticket prices, transport, parking, food, drinks. Although this night was packed.