Years Of Jethro Tull
At The Kent Stage
Martin Barre Band
May 17th, 2019
Martin Barre, the long-time guitarist for Jethro Tull is out celebrating fifty years of Jethro Tull music. Barre and his band played two shows at The Kent Stage this past Tuesday and Wednesday. For this tour, Barre brought two special guests with him; original Tull drummer Clive Bunker and Tull arranger and keyboardist Dee Palmer.
The first set was a true career retrospective as the band played a couple of songs from each album in chronological order. There was a big screen at the back of the stage that projected images of Tull when they were first starting out. Songs like "My Sunday Feeling" and "Teacher" were expertly played.
To accompany the images, there were also voiceovers telling the audience about the rise of the band, how they toured America in 1969, opening for Led Zeppelin in the early '70s, to locking themselves away in The Rolling Stones studio to record Thick As A Brick.
Singer/guitarist Dan Crisp did a fantastic job of handling the vocals. His voice is very similar to that of original singer Ian Anderson. Although Martin Barre is a talented flutist himself, he decided to play the flute parts on guitar or had Dee Palmer play them on the keyboards.
Clive Bunker played the drums on the songs that he originally played on, and he also played percussion on other tunes while Darby Todd sat behind the kit and Alan Thompson held down the bass.
The entire show sounded fantastic.
After the trifecta of songs from the Aqualung album were played: "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Hymn 43," and "Aqualung" then an excerpt of "Thick As A Brick," Barre told the audience that he was going to "give their ears a break" by playing an acoustic set. Two female singers came onto the stage; one had an acoustic guitar the other a washboard, but both with beautiful voices. Alex Hart and Becca Langsford sang "Life Is A Long Song," "One White Duck," and "Wond'ring Around" and then ended the first set with an acoustic version of "Locomotive Breath."
After a twenty-minute intermission, the outfit returned to continue with their journey of songs from the second half of their career. Tunes like "Bungle In The Jungle," "Heavy Horses" and "Steel Monkey" were all played.
The second set ended with "A New Day Yesterday" and the band came back to encore with an electric version of "Locomotive Breath."
Martin Barre has said that this is the best Jethro Tull has played and sounded in years.
I would have to agree with him.
Review and photos by Greg Drugan