My First Rock Concert
I went to my first rock concert 25 years ago today. I was a 15 year old in 10th grade at the time, and Jethro Tull was, and still is, my all-time favorite band. It was the first time in my life I had seen anyone (sort of) famous and couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing them in real life. My best friend, a few of my brothers, some cousins and other acquaintances all went to see them at the Delta Center (as it was called then) in Salt Lake City. Tull were on tour because to promote their new album that had come out earlier that year, Catfish Rising. I’ve been to many, many concerts since then that I have thoroughly enjoyed, I’ve even seen Tull on 3 other occasions, but none of them were as greatly anticipated as my very first concert with my absolute favorite band.
My Oldest T-Shirt
I bought a t-shirt at that Jethro Tull Concert on December 6, 1991. I don’t know how it has lasted as long as it has, or why I haven’t lost it yet. About 10 years ago I noticed that it was getting a lot of little holes so I began a tradition of wearing it once a year on December 6 – I call it Jethro Tull day. I’m not even very fond of the t-shirt design itself, but I like to keep little tokens of sentimentality. I’m wearing the shirt today and am having fun showing people at work the date on the back. Tonight it will go back in the closet to be worn again next year.
About Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull formed in England in the 60’s and hit their peak of popularity when they released their 4th Album Aqualung in 1971. People often think the band’s singer, Ian Anderson, is actually Jethro Tull, though that name belongs to the band not the individual. The actual person Jethro Tull was an agriculturalist known for inventing the seed drill in 1701. Why did they named the band after him? For no other reason than they liked the sound of the name.
Lead man Ian Anderson is truly the heart and soul, the identity, of the band. He is the singer and writer for all their music, but is more likely known for playing a very serious hard rock… flute. You would have to hear it to believe it. Anderson has stated that he chose to play the flute simply because no one else was doing it. He could never be as good on the guitar as Eric Clapton, and he chose to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big ocean. Anderson is also extremely proficient at acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and a dozen other string and wind instruments (who’s heard of the claghorn?) He even played a lot of soprano saxophone in their 6th and 7th albums.
Hard core Tull fans are few and far in between. I know many casual fans who are acquainted with Tull, but I only know two other die-hards who have all 30 or so Jethro Tull albums – one of which is one of my younger brothers. I attribute this to their music not being readily user-friendly. Relative to most rock groups their music would be considered extremely complex, varying often in time signatures and frequent key changes – making it difficult to become acquainted with. Often their music is described as “Art Rock” along with other groups like YES. This is the appeal is has for me – very infrequently did I hear a new Tull song and say “That’s awesome, I love it!” But they all grew on me over time, and due to their complexity I never tire of listening to them – even after a couple decades!