“ANDERSON’S FLUTE, TULL’S ELECTRICITY
RIP APART ALBUQUERQUE CROWD”
CONCERT REVIEWS FROM THE 1971 AQUALUNG TOUR
BY LARRY BUCKING & VERNON L. MILLER
EL PASO, TEXAS
JUNE 17, 1971
(LARRY BUCKING REVIEW):
Two and one-half hours of live, electric Jethro Tull preceded by one hour of Mott the Hoople last Friday in Albuquerque was a mind trip not soon to be forgotten.
Opening with evil-sounding sullen yet heavily stimulating “My God,” featuring Ian Anderson’s resonant flute, unusually tonic voice and freakish, commanding jolts, Tull guided the crowd to a transcendental high. Complemented by costumes, perfectly separated music and a spellbound audience, Jethro Tull continued with nearly all of the Aqualung album, “Inside” and “With You There to Help Me” from Benefit and “Nothing is Easy” from Stand Up. Many numbers were started in the midst of colored spots, flashing lights and twirling sparklers highlighted by Anderson’s wild
directive movements that freely produced a constantly moving throng of beautifully dedicated hedonists. Often Clive Bunker’s speedy drumming was individually featured as in “Cross-Eyed Mary,” a song about a young Catholic prostitute that was kicked off by the unmerciful scream of bass guitarist and alto recorder playing Jeffery Hammond Hammond, who was sporting Rocky the flying squirrel goggles. A heavy piano solo by John Evan moved into an alternately slow, moody and ultrasonic, optimistic documentary from Benefit, “For Michael Collins, Jeffery and Me.”
Kind of like a mechanical wind-up dancer, Ian Anderson, the musician synonymous with Jethro Tull for over three years, captivated the audience by displaying his novel technique of springing backwards and bounding in sporadic leaps forward to his microphone in perfect time to meet his vocal parts throughout the performance. While doing his flute accompaniments, Anderson cantered on one leg, crossed by the other, while his flute remained at the best distance from the microphone for good sound. Other times, he affected a successful transition from his vocal showmanship to his flute playing stance in a split second. Anderson was always in motion.
Midway through the event, Jethro Tull did the story of a lecherous degenerate named Aqualung, for whom his latest album is named. Definitely in acid-rock style, “Aqualung” is a hefty bass pageant that began with a choppy a lead, continued with a melodic melodrama and was interspersed with mellow distant-vocal segments.
Aside from the sight show, what classifies the Tull concert as a trip was the dynamite way that the music jumped from the highest peak to the lowest valley simply ripping apart the heads of the listeners, yet somehow hanging on to them by a thin thread of exciting anticipation of the next summit. The total effect is not dissimilar to what the Beatles do in “I Want You (She’s so Heavy).”
After over two hours of Jethro Tull’s generous offering and five minutes of frantic standing ovation, the five musicians anchored with twenty-five minutes of “Wind Up,” broken halfway through by erratic “Locomotive Breath.” The spiritual “Wind Up” finale dropped off, like from a cliff,’ when Anderson reluctantly whispered “that’s it,” and an eerie silence dominated the Civic Center until the realization that the extravaganza had ended brought on another five minutes of applause.
The crowd was most impressive, never having distracted Jethro Tull or anyone else with frisbees and paper airplanes, nor necessitating the admission of police, except in one instance, to remove a gun-carrying attendant. The night before, police and several gate-crashers clashed at Red Rocks Park outdoor amphitheater in the foothills west of Denver where Jethro Tull played to a capacity crowd of 10,000.
Mott the Hoople, also from England, provided a perfect beginning. Heavy electric sounds, though not separated as well as Tull’s harmonious acoustical components, prepared the crowd for the explosion. Mott the Hoople concentrated on their best album, . ‘Mad Shadows,” from which they did “I Can Reel,” “Thunderbuck Ram” and others. Neither group needed to waste any of the crowd’s time or to lessen their enthusiasm by tuning up their instruments or with a long intermission. What’s more, the show started on time. Most rewarding is that, although the Albuquerque happening has taken place, the concert is still thriving in my mind.
(Vernon L. Miller Review):
If you missed Jethro Tull and Mott the Hoople in Albuquerque last Friday, you missed a concert that would make all the concerts seen in El Paso seem like pallid raspberry jam sessions.
Tull and its loader flautist Ian Anderson set the Albuquerque Civic Auditorium’s freaked crowd of freaks on their ears with two hours of their latest album “Aqualung” interspersed with cuts from their previous albums “Stand Up” and “Benefit.”
England’s Mott the Hoople opened the concert with numbers from their album “Mad Shadows.” As the auditorium lights went off overhead the lights in the crowd started coming on. Everyone started getting off about midway through the set. The smoke that filled the air and Mott the Hoople’s outlandish
costumes added to the experience. Hoople played very well but their effort was weakened by problems with acoustics. The sound from their instruments was muddy and not distinctly separated. Despite this they managed to generate enough excitement to satisfy the crowd before Tull’s appearance.
The intermission was notable for the speed with which Jethro Tull set up and for the lack of any redundant tuning up that characterizes many concerts. When the lights came on a squad of police marched into the floor area looking properly grim and serious. Paranoia about a gigantic bust was lessened when the MC told everybody to be cool; the pigs were only there to remove a clown toting a .38 for some reason known only to himself. Then they left and Tull came on in more ways than one. Flute playing Ian Anderson, made up and looking exactly like the derelict Aqualung for whom Tull’s latest album is titled, began the Jethro Tull concert with “My God.” It started off acoustically with Anderson doing the vocal and the guitar and
accompanied by John Evans on the piano. Then electric Tull joined in and zonked the audience with the wicked second half of “My God.” If one had any doubts about the quality of the concert they were dispelled immediately. Tull was superb. Especially terrific at the concert was Ian Anderson’s exceptional flute playing. If you could say a flute player was “getting it on” you would have to make that judgment about Ian Anderson. He played the part of Aqualung to perfection and packed more excitement into a rendition of that one album than the Who put into two LPs of “Tommy.” Anderson displayed his vocal range with the songs from “Aqualung” and a tremendous rendition on “Nothing is Easy” from “Stand Up.”
The only bad thing about the Tull concert was the fact that it had to end. When it was over the large concert crowd left, still not believing what they had seen. I don’t blame them.
JETHRO TULL DISCOGRAPHY:
1968 This Was
1969 Stand Up
1972 Thick as a Brick
1972 Living in the Past
1973 Passion Play
1974 War Child
1975 Minstril in the Gallery
1976 Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die
1977 Songs from the Wood
1978 Heavy Horses
1978 Bursting Out Live
1982 Broadsword and the Beast
1984 Under Wraps
1987 Crest of a Knave
1989 Rock Island
1991 Catfish Rising
1992 A Little Light Music
1993 Night Cap
1993 Box Set
1995 Roots to Branches
1999 J. Tull Dot Com
2003 Christmas Album
2004 Live at Isle of Wight 1970
2005 Aqualung Live 2005
2007 Live at Montreaux 2003