Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Annotated Set List for Ian Anderson Concert at Birchmere

Ed and I sat right next to the drummer on the edge of stage left. After the show, I urged Ed to swipe the drummer’s copy of the set list, which was sitting an arm’s length away, under the drummer’s seat. Instead he asked the stage manager if it was alright to take it. “No, we reuse those,” came the reply. Really? As we walked toward the exit, I saw the stage manager hand the setlist to an attractive brunette who had been sitting front and center. Life….
  1. Life's a Long Song This was an upbeat way to start the show. Ian sells a t-shirt with a rather bleak sounding message, “Too old to rock and roll and too young to die.” The image is the cover of his 1976 album of the same name. Well, he’s still rocking. And this song’s message is quite different: life is a long song which ends all too soon.
  2. Up To Me. Bit of a youthful independent streak.
  3. Nursie. A “mercifully short” tune bout the cute Nurse that moved in to take care of his Dad in his last days.
  4. In the Grip of Stronger Stuff Instrumental inspired by former Tull guitarist’s legendary taste for booze. By the way, Ian himself is quite well-known for his anti-drug stance. He did not glamorize his bandmate’s self-destructive behavior. Instead, he commended him for eventually drying out and for still playing today with a different group. 
  5. Set Aside Having to do with a government program paying farmers to leave a portion of their fields fallow.
  6. Hare In the Wine Cup A rabbit crawled under the fence and into a water feature in the back yard.
  7. Wond'ring Again  Update on an earlier song, Wond’ring Aloud. Ian admitted that he had a hard time getting his mind around the lyrics and is not entirely sure where they came from.
  8. Adantino German guitar phenom Florian Opahle composed and performed this dramatic Classical / Flamenco guitar tune.
  9. Adrift and Dumbfounded About his rocky relationship with his daughter.
  10. Hare that lost his speCtacles Performed as a dramatic reading as he pranced and paced on stage, saying speck-a-ta-cles. He made it look like he was reading, but he never turned a page. I couldn’t see the book cover, but am convinced it was just a prop.
  11. Bach Prelude in C Minor Once again featuring Florian’s guitar finesse
  12. Bourèe A brilliant end to the acoustic portion of the show.
[intermission]
  1. No name song Nothing sharpens the mind, says Ian, like springing a new song on your band and telling them learn it fast, because we’re going to play it live tonight! He did say that the band offered a name for the song, but it was unrepeatable.
  2. Thick as a brick--long version. Classic:  “Sand castle virtues are all swept away in the tidal destruction, the moral melee.
  3. Jam instrumental with guitar solo. This was a delight. Imagine the old icon, Ian Anderson, in an instrumental dual with the young upstart. A battle of flute and guitar.
  4. A Change of Horses. Never change horses in mid-stream.
  5. Budapest. Hauntingly familiar tune, and an obvious crowd favorite. 
  6. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. You know the piece as the quintessential Hallowe’en scary organ number. Florian’s treatment on guitar was powerful and enchanting.
  7. Aqualung. Crowd favorite and everyone was on their feet and jamming. 
  8. Locomotive breath--encore Complete with unique kung fu playing posture, wild gyrations and gesticulations, and plenty of snorting and scat notes—a dynamite finish!