Martin Barre Celebrates 50 Years of Jethro Tull
The Gov, Saturday 29th November 2019
(Review by John Glennie)
Guitarist Martin Barre was the longest-serving member of the legendary band apart from Ian Anderson. I was very sceptical about Jethro Tull songs without the voice and flute of Ian Anderson at the helm. That scepticism went out the window very quickly. Dan Crisp’s voice was perfect and strong enough to re-live the old classics that Tull were unable to perform in later years with Anderson’s failing voice. As for the flute, there were a few instances where the guitars of Crisp and Barre sounded just like it. The rest of the time the flute was replaced by scintillating hard rock guitar riffs from Barre superbly supported by Crisp on guitar, Alan Thompson on bass and Darby Todd on drums.
The band hit the stage and launched into four oldies from This Was and Stand Up, including Sunday Feeling and Back To The Family, before Martin addressed the appreciative crowd. After playing Nothing Is Easy, Martin took another drink of wine then informed the crowd that once the glass was empty, that was the end of the show, since he has “never played sober in his life”.
They did a sensational extract from the classic Thick As A Brick then a couple of his solo tracks that I hadn’t heard before – Lone Wolf and Back To Steel. At this stage, bassist Alan Thompson thankfully handed Martin a full glass of wine, to which he responded “looks like it will be a long night!” (to cheers from the crowd). He then said “the Beatles? Abba? The Jacksons? Metallica? I’m looking for inspiration!”. Immediately came the unmistakeable opening riff of Aqualung – and what an incredible version it was too!
We were then treated to a trio of songs from War Child including the title track followed by Sea Lion and my “theme song” Bungle In The Jungle (Bung being my nickname for many years).
There were many great tracks from the early years which brought back good memories from one of my favourite bands. Highlights were Sweet Dream (Living In the Past), Teacher (Benefit), a blues version of A New Day Yesterday (Stand Up) and Cross-Eyed Mary (Aqualung). They saved one of my all-time faves for the one-song encore with Locomotive Breath finishing off a sensational show!
I did not miss the Ian Anderson’s flute one little bit, as it meant we hear much more of Martin Barre’s brilliance on the guitar. It’s a big call, but for me, this was the concert of the year. Best of all he made a solemn promise that they WILL be back – and I cannot wait!