An Oldies Hit Parade with Jethro Tull / Emerson, Lake & Palmer
New World Music Theatre - Tinley Park, IL
September 7, 1996
First Appeared in The Music Box, Sept/Oct 1996, Volume 3, #6
Written by John Metzger
Its been several years since Jethro Tull visited the Chicago Theater on tour for its Catfish Rising release. This time around, with a new album titled Roots and Branches, the band opted to memorialize the 25th anniversary of the classic Aqualung album. A crowd of baby boomers turned out at the New World Music Theatre, and the results were disappointing.
Jethro Tull immediately launched into Aqualung, which deluded the audience into thinking that, perhaps, the entire album would be performed. All hopes quickly were dashed as Ian Anderson led the band through the hits from Aqualung: Mother Goose, My God, Cross-Eyed Mary, Locomotive Breath, and the title track. These were scattered throughout the 90-minute set and were performed in a pristine, true-to-the-recording fashion. Too bad. There was a time when Jethro Tull could jam. Instead, the group floated somewhat aimlessly through hit after hit including Thick as a Brick, Songs from the Wood, and Never Too Old to Rock ‘n Roll. Yes, it was a night of album title tracks with only a few moments of inspiration that departed from the actual recording. Still, the crowd ate it up.
More surprising was that the audience loved opening act Emerson, Lake & Palmer even more. The reunited trio put on what turned out to be a rather amusing performance. Quite frankly, it was downright silly to see people in their 50s acting like they did 25 years ago, particularly when it comes to tearing off their shirts or rolling around on the stage with a keyboard on top of them. The highlight of the ELP set was a rousing version of Pictures at an Exhibition. Greg Lake's vocals actually were decent throughout the set, and Keith Emerson can still pound out the keyboard parts. If only they would lose the ridiculous stage antics, they might be onto something.
Jethro Tull's Aqualung is available from Barnes & Noble.
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The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer is available from
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Copyright © 1996 The Music Box