Too old to rock and roll? No way!
                                                              PHOTO: TOI PHOTO GALLERY

For days before the show hit town, there were groups of
people going around Bangalore with a beatific ‘It’s-a-miracle
-no-less’ look on their faces. The group gathered others like
 them, who gathered others like them and then, a few
thousands in strength, they shuffled across town to watch
 the miracle take place.

The miracle materialised in the shape of five not-so-young
men of a not-so-new group, Jethro Tull, who jammed the
airwaves at Palace Grounds last Saturday night, giving of
their best to a very appreciative crowd.

It was the revenge of the pre-MTV nerds. All around, one
could see a generation reliving their wild days, there was
 reminiscence in the air and one thirty-something man had
 tears of joy making tracks down his cheeks. Grunge was
 worn more as getting back into the groove’ rather than
getting with it.

Ian Anderson got his show on the road after a mere
half-hour’s delay. Immediately after which the KEB
got their non-show on the road, with a power
breakdown, upon which Anderson had a few dry
comments to make. Before the crowd got really
restive, the generators swung into action and
all was well.

That was pretty much the state of affairs for the
next two hours as the audience was treated to a
25th anniversary set of Tull classics: Songs from
the wood, Crossroads, Locomotive breath, Living
in the past, Stormy Monday blues, Too old to rock
 and roll, Too young to die, Budapest, some terrific
solo pieces by Doanne Perry on the drums, with
Martin Barre and Dace Pegg on the electric and
acoustic guitars, respectively.

The star of the show was Anderson. But, of course.
The man who came down to interface with Indian
Tullheads, as well as to indulge in a passion for Indian
 food, showed that age and hard rockin’ may have
slipped gravel into his voice but he still had what it takes,
 and then some. He pranced around, struck the
semi-Nataraja pose familiar to his fans, kept up a
 mocking banter (“At my age I can afford to be very wry”),
played the guitar, plugged his just-for-India compilation
of Tull music and, of course, played charismatic Pied Piper
 to all gathered there.

The flute drove the audience wild, taking some down
 familiar paths, giving others a glimpse into the magic
 that makes Anderson a rocker with a difference. The
silver wand took centrestage, it overshadowed all else,
 it wove a thin fluid line with laserbeam strength from
Anderson to the audience.

The spell held good when Tull said their goodbyes,
left the stage, came back for a second round, left
for good this time… and the crowd slowly came
out of the daze.

The lighting, handled by Roger Drego, was superb,
almost in rhythm with the music. The frisking at the
entrance gates served a good purpose, too. The venue,
 though, raised a few grumbles from those who wanted
 to hear Tull in as laid-back a fashion as possible i.e.
sprawled on the ground maybe. Which was impossible
on the level playing field of the Palace Grounds.

That such a big crowd was so tuned into what was
happening onstage to want to bother with any
routine misbehaviour is testimony to both
Bangalore’s music-loving public and the power
of Ian Anderson, the Man with the Magic Flute.

And, oh yes, the evening had a message: that
rock and roll will never die.

The Jethro Tull show was sponsored by BPL India
and organized by Performance Arts Trust.

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