Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jethro Tull = screaming agony


WANTED for murder: Ian Anderson, singer, flautist and only constant in the band Jethro Tull. The crime: Murder of a much-loved classic.

We saw Jethro Tull at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and, had it been possible to do so without disturbing half a row of geriatric fans like myself, we’d have left long before “Locomotive Breath” finally chugged into view.

This was supposed to a celebration of Tull’s seven decades in the music business but the result was a torture session in which we were obliged to listen to Anderson’s greatest flops.

Almost all the songs from Tull’s 1970s heyday were omitted (if you must, you can check out the setlist here), replaced by apocalyptic dirges, inaudible lyrics and interminable flute solos performed by someone so well past his prime it was embarrassing to witness.

The first, short, half included “Heavy Horses” and “Good Morning Weathercock” as well as “BourĂ©e” but other than that it was a flat five out of ten. We hoped for better from part two and were bitterly disappointed.

The last straw was the extensive, pointless, tuneless, gabbling drivel which preceded a perfunctory rendition of “Aqualung”. This was, supposedly, the culmination of the performance. Thesong, one of Tull’s bona fide five-star classics, was positively murdered. It was lamentable, awful, I could have cried.

By the time we got “Locomotive Breath” as an encore, I and many others had lost interest. I couldn’t bring myself even to applaud the end of the show – though in retrospect perhaps I should have clapped to celebrate the end of this hideous ordeal.

Sadly, this concert had determined me in the view that it is no longer worth attending any gig, concert or performance given by any artist or band older than me. It’s just so unutterably disappointing.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Taking the taxpayers for idiots

 Just heard two whingeing luvvies on BBC Radio 4 blaming ‘Government’ (ie those wicked Tories) for the ‘lack of funding’ which means Birmingham Rep is to receive no grant from the city council this year.

Truth is the city has itself, Tony Blair and the unions  to blame for its terrible financial crisis. The councillors involved should be surcharged and made bankrupt for their sheer incompetence. Residents should refuse to accept the planned 21 per cent rise in council tax until those responsible are properly held to account by being made personally bankrupt.

The Government is not to blame and when it comes to theatre subsidies, why does The Rep deserve special treatment? Perhaps putting on a few plays people actually wanted to see might make a change. As Samuel Johnson said:

‘The drama’s laws the drama’s patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.’

The time has come for the luvvies to stop whingeing, wringing their hands and blaming everyone else. Perhaps they could make a decent drama out of this crisis - or is that beyond them?

A quick glance at what's on there at the moment suggests that it is: 'Tales Till Ramadan', 'Bhangra Nation' and 'Black is the Color (sic) of My Voice' not to mention 'Emma Rice's Blue Beard' (a 'celebration of female power... a music-fuelled feminist revenge plot') suggests it's unlikely the luvvies will have 'em queuing round the block with or without their bung from the council.