With the inimitable Ian Anderson leading the proceedings.
With the inimitable Ian Anderson leading the proceedings.

Jethro Tull – live in Chicago – August 16, 1970 – WXRT-FM – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Ironically, this concert happened 45 years ago, almost to the day. Jethro Tull were in the midst of a musical shift; going from the Blues/Jazz-based Rock to something more akin to the Progressive movement of the day. The band was evolving, and Ian Anderson was trying out new and different paths. Having been an opening act for Led Zeppelin in the early days, a flute-based band, no matter how funky and down-home it was attempting to be, was not going to sway an audience bent on wall-to-wall heavy rock – which was what Led Zeppelin were quickly morphing into and which Jethro Tull was quickly morphing out of.

So this recording, made in Chicago on August 16th and broadcast by WXRT-FM, puts Jethro Tull at something of a crossroads. Busily promoting Benefit, the follow-up album to their 1969 hit Stand Up, while gathering material for their milestone Aqualung, which was recorded later on in 1970 and released early 1971.

This concert and broadcast also come before their legendary Isle Of Wight appearance on August 30th. For Tull fans, this concert is a must – for people just getting around to listening to Jethro Tull, it’s part of a series of historic stepping stones for a band which became one of the most influential and enduring bands in Rock music.

But don’t take my word for it . . . .

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