We were invited by the Mohegan Sun Player’s Club to attend Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Plays Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 concert at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena free. This was the third “free” concert we have attended at Mohegan Sun this year. We witnessed Kenny Loggins in a secret show on July 18. We also go to see the Summerland Tour (90’s Hitmakers) on July 29 featuring Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, and Marcy Playground.
I have been a fan of Jethro Tull since their first album This Was in 1968. This was my sixth Tull concert. If I count the two Ian Anderson Rubbing Elbows concerts that would make eight Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson concerts in 43 years.
The concert this night proved to be unique compared to past Jethro Tull concerts. I have seen the Stand Up, Benefit, Aqualung, and A Passion Play tours. I have also seen Jethro Tull in concert where they play a cross-section of their discography.
I liked the idea that Jethro Tull would do Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 in their entirety. It was a different band than I was accustomed to seeing. The past five times I have witnessed Jethro Tull the guitarist was Martin Barre. He is not a member of Jethro Tull now so the lead guitar was handled by Florian Opahle. I missed Martin Barre not being in the band but I soon adjusted to Florian Opahle in that role.
The first segment of the show began with several people with cashmere overcoats and caps milling about in a warehouse. We soon learned this was the band as they removed their coats and were joined by Ian Anderson at the microphone, flute in hand. The years have ravaged Ian Anderson’s vocal range and he struggled to reach some of the upper register notes in “Thick As A Brick”. I credit Ian Anderson with the idea of adding vocalist, mime Ryan O’Donnell who serves as Gerald Bostock in the show. For the unitiated Gerald Bostock is the central fictional character of Thick As A Brick 1 & 2.
Ian Anderson is still very much the knave as he pranced about flute in hand, playing on one leg, knee bent and leg/foot dangling. His flute musicianship is superb. He grounds the group in his legendary central role which was heartfelt to see. He brought back many memories whilst he performed. All in all, Act 1, Thick As A Brick came across well and set the stage for the second act.
Thick As A Brick 2 is the new recording released this year. It is better engineered for Iam Anderson’s revised vocal range. The band that performs with Ian Anderson recorded Thick As A Brick 2 with him so the co-operation is much tighter than Thick As A Brick. I was enchanted by the theatrics in Thick As A Brick 2, such as the multimedia use of various videos and graphics on the large screen behind the group. There was always something going on to keep the audience engaged and focused.
I liked the group’s cohesiveness. Thick As A Brick 2 unfolded nicely in a concert setting. I found myself intrigued by the new songs and the further story of Gerald Bostock growing up to become an adult. It was crafty of Ian Anderson to revisit the Thick As A Brick concept recording to shed more light on the character and what befalls him next.
My favorite songs on Thick As A Brick 2 are “Wootton Bassett Town” and “Banker Bets, Banker Wins”.
Jethro Tull encored with an instrumental “Aqualung” followed by “Locomotive Breath“. It was the icing on the cake of a rewarding and entertaining evening.