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Jethro Tull at TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park on August 19, 2023


Photos and review by Andrew Perkins

My first memories of Jethro Tull’s music was during my freshman year at Purdue University, when my college roommate introduced me to this band. Oftentimes during stressful situations, I would play various Tull songs to ease the aggravation of college life. Still to this day when I hear Aqualung I reminisce about the good ol' days. 

Because of that, I have a mix of emotions while writing this article. Let me explain why...

From the beginning of the show, Ian Anderson’s showmanship and technical virtuosity was on display. That also applies to his ensemble. Jethro Tull's performance was progressive music mastery at its best. The background video synced to perfectly to vocals and the incredible instrumentality was on display for all of us to admire and enjoy. At the beginning of the show, Anderson pointed out they would be playing seven decades of songs, beginning from the late 60’s to music from Jethro Tull’s latest release, "Rokflote."

"Heavy Horses" was an unusual favorite for me. I really enjoyed the background imagery of horse and man working the land with a medieval urgency to the music. As one can ascertain from the set list, it was Ian’s choice to dig deep into the Tull catalog. Another unique aspect to the show was the band's rule that there was to be no cellphone or camera usage until the last song or encore. While I appreciate and respect their desire to not have recording devices being used, it was certainly a distraction having ushers frequently pass by to admonish attendees who weren’t following the rules. At one point, Anderson even waved a finger at an audience member who was recording a song. In this day and age, I much prefer when bands let people be and enjoy the experience whichever way they like. The song, "The Zealot Gene" is about the curse of social media and I guess that’s the lesson we needed to ascertain from the evening. 

All of the above I can handle, but the part that affected my overall enjoyment of the show was the lack of the greatest hits being played. Three songs off the top of my head that we didn’t hear were "Bungle In The Jungle," "Too Old To Rock And Roll: Too Young To Die!," and "Skating On The Thin Ice Of The New Day." It reminded me of when I went to see Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp, play a solo show, where he played only one Supertramp song.

Josh Homme said it best recently while appearing on the Tuna on Toast With Stryker podcast (as transcribed by Ultimate Classic Rock),  “I understand that I’m always going to play [QOTSA hit] ‘No One Knows’ because I still like playing that song and that’s something that it’s an agreement with the audience. I assume that this is a part of coming here to see us, and here you go.”

He continued, “When there’s bands that don’t want to play their big song or their big songs, I always think it’s a little c*nty to do that. Acting like a song that a lot of people like is a burden is just a strange reaction to the gift that your fans have given you. ”

When the encore came, I stood next to the railings by the stage to take a few pictures, a few of which turned out to be great! (Anderson allowed cameras and cellphones for the one song during the encore). However, as I walked out of the venue when the show ended, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was given only a portion of what I came to see and what I paid to see.

Set 1:


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