Gig review: Ian Anderson

Former member of Jethro Tull Ian Anderson.  Picture: Facebook
Former member of Jethro Tull Ian Anderson. Picture: Facebook
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BORN in Dunfermline and partly raised in Edinburgh, sometime prog figurehead Ian Anderson’s homecoming audience here was substantial, and clearly familiar with even the dustier back alleys of his mountainous catalogue.

Ian Anderson - Edinburgh Festival Theatre

***

Yet it was the latest phase of Anderson’s career which would concern us for the first half of this show, namely an in-order run-through of his new album Homo Erraticus. An intricate, sprawling and somewhat disjointed affair themed upon a fantastical, semi-imagined history of the British Isles, it served as a well-received appetiser, in large part due to Anderson’s devotion to his themes and the quality of the four excellent folk-rock musicians who surrounded him (as well as Ryan O’Donnell, billed as “vocals and stage antics”, youthful court jester to Anderson’s wise old wizard).

Many might have secretly been waiting for the show’s second chapter, however, a Tull greatest hits set which saw Anderson revisit the skipping elfin troubadour persona he’s carried around for years – which is odd, it must be said, when worn by a man in his sixties. Yet the songs were tightly arranged and played with gusto, from hippy-era classic Living in the Past to fan favourites My God and Aqualung, and the closing folk-blues train song Locomotive Breath.

Seen on 18.05.14