In 1972 two separate events happened that will soon converge. In 1972, the English rock group, Jethro Tull, released the album, “Thick As A Brick.” Also in 1972, the City of Phoenix opened the Phoenix Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. On Wednesday night, July 10, 2013 at 7:30 p.m., Ian Anderson, front man, flute player, vocalist and songwriter for Jethro Tull, will perform the album, “Thick As A Brick,” in its entirety at Phoenix Symphony Hall.
Some think Ian Anderson is Jethro Tull and in a figurative but not literal way, he is. He is the man that wrote “Aqualung,” “Living In the Past,” and “Bungle in the Jungle,” all Jethro Tull classic rock radio staples. His one legged pose while playing the flute is what people remember from seeing Jethro Tull live. And his humor and wit was never more on display when he wrote “Thick As A Brick.”
In 1971, Jethro Tull released the monster selling album, “Aqualung.” With songs such as “Aqualung,” “Cross-Eyed Mary,” and “Locomotive Breath,” the album was and remains Jethro Tull’s largest selling album. It was also misunderstood, many critics thinking that the album was a concept album. According to Jethro Tull’s website, Anderson’s response to those critics was to make an album that was “a send up of rock pretentiousness, critics, and the band itself.” The ultimate progressive rock concept album.
Hence, “Thick As A Brick” was born. The lyrics of the album were allegedly taken from a poem written by eight year old Gerald (Little Milton) Bostock. The album cover itself, which took longer to produce than the album, turned into a 12 page newspaper, The St. Cleve Chronicle, (if there was ever a reason to lament the passing of album covers in lieu of CD inserts or downloading songs, this would be one). It was all over the top. The St. Cleve Chronicle was fake. Gerald Bostock was fake. The intricate music was not and “Thick As A Brick,” became Jethro Tull’s only number one album on the U.S. charts.
Forty years later, Anderson decided to update the story of Gerald Bostock and released “Thick As A Brick 2” (“TAAB 2”). It chronicles five different possibilities of Gerald Bostock’s life since Gerald penned the poem that Jethro Tull set to music in 1972. Although “Thick As A Brick 2” is also a concept album, it is not one continuous song like “Thick As A Brick.” Anderson will also play “Thick As A Brick 2” in its entirety.
As to why an album of a quintet of possibilities of how Gerald Bostock’s life may have turned out, Anderson told Kevin Yeanoplos of usedview.com in a recent interview, “we baby-boomers look back on our own lives and often feel an occasional ‘what-if’ moment. Might we, like Gerald, have become instead preacher, soldier, down-and-out, shopkeeper or finance tycoon?”
This tour is the first time “Thick As A Brick” has been performed in its entirety since 1972. How close will the live version of “Thick As A Brick,” and “Thick As A Brick 2” compare to the studio version? Anderson told usedview.com, “as it turned out, we have faithfully recreated the original ‘Thick As A Brick’ from 1972 as well as all of ‘TAAB 2.’ We played them just like the record. It’s inevitable that there were a few overdubs that can’t be replicated, particularly in the case of the original ‘Thick As A Brick.’”
“There were lots of bits that occurred along the way with various overdubs that I did. Some of those I managed to add bits of music in or harmony vocals from the other guys. Or when I play the flute and my alter ego Ryan O’Donnell sings some bits when I’ve got flute lines to play. But we make it from the audience perspective. They would have to agree that it sounds faithfully like the original.”
Tickets for the July 10 show remain and can be obtained through ticketmaster.com. Additional information can be obtained through Danny Zelisko Presents website. Tickets for the show are priced from $40.00 to $75.00 plus applicable fees.