Music » Critics' Choices

Jethro Tull

Friday, November 18, at Midland Theatre.


Among the Brits who started out blues-wailin' in the late '60s — the Who, Led Zeppelin, Clapton — and went on to rule arenas in the '70s, Jethro Tull was the one that got dropped on its head as a baby. Tull's only permanent member, Ian Anderson, always acts like he was born in a circle of mushrooms in some forest in Wales, with insect wings and a flute 'twixt his gums. Spend too much time thinking about that madcap rock flautist, and you might start following the nasally voiced piper like an enchanted rat. That might not be so bad, though, because between 1968 and 1978, Tull recorded some great albums, starting with the adventurous, lo-fi freak blues of This Was and Stand Up; moving through the concept-album phase of Aqualung, Brick and A Passion Play (notable mostly for its twisted children's story "The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles"); and winding up with the tightly structured minstrel rock of Songs From the Wood and Heavy Horses. Just think, this was a band whose legions of fans in Detroit nearly rioted in 1973 when the second show of its two-night stand at Cobo Arena sold out in a matter of hours. There's no way that'll happen at the Midland, but we expect plenty of raised lighters celebrating the vintage Tull.

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