Anderson’s acoustic adventure

Ian Anderson, the original lead member of Jethro Tull, with German guitar virtuoso Florian Ophale and accordionist John O'Hara. Photo contributed.
Ian Anderson, the original lead member of Jethro Tull, with German guitar virtuoso Florian Ophale and accordionist John O'Hara. Photo contributed.

JETHRO Tull’s Ian Anderson has performed the band’s music in as many forms as you can imagine.

“I’ve done them as a band of course,” he says. “And I’ve also done the songs with an orchestra and a string quartet.”

But this time around, he’s bringing the music to Buxton in acoustic form on a 13-date tour of the UK.

He has performed acoustically before.

“That’s right,” he agrees. “But it’s the first time I’ve done it in the UK.”

Along with him is the German guitar virtuoso Florian Opahle, who has worked extensively with the likes of Greg Lake in the past, and pianist/accordionist/percussionist John O’Hara, stalwart of the current incarnation of Tull.

Speaking of the trio format, Anderson says: “I wouldn’t do a show with just me and an acoustic guitar, for one thing I’m known as a flute player.”

As well as many of the Tull classics, the set will include some new material and some surprises.

“I’ll also be talking about writing the songs and what gave rise to them, but there will be much more music than chat,” he admits.

Sort of ‘An Evening with Ian Anderson’?

“Yes, that would sum it up.

“It is an opportunity to look at the more acoustic pieces in their stripped down form and approaching them from a different direction.

“A bit of musical fun really.”

As a band, Jethro Tull has recorded some of the legendary classic rock albums in its 43-year career, from Aqualung to Thick As a Brick and Heavy Horses.

The new material should prove to be interesting.

“There won’t be that much really,” the 63-year-old Scot says.

“In any show I’ll only play two or three new songs just to ‘road test’ them. If you get a good reception with them you feel confident that it’ll work as a recording.

“Some of Aqualung was done that way.

“Of the whole show I’d say that it’s gonna be 70/30 of songs that most people will be familiar with, and there may be three or four old Tull numbers that we haven’t played in the UK.”

And as to his raison d’etre for this tour, Anderson sums it up quite simply: “I have always wanted to go out in the UK with a small line-up, to play and to restructure the songs and music for a more intimate and personalised performance.

“After many years of performing in this way for radio broadcasts in the USA, it seems like fun to bring this approach to the UK fans, old and new, and to make them feel like they are in my living room for an impromptu family concert.”

Ian Anderson will bring his acoustic tour to Buxton Opera House on Sunday September 18, at 7.30pm.

Tickets, priced £23 and £25, are available on 0845 127 2190 or at www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.

Martin Hutchinson