The Genessee Theatre, the “Beauty of the North Shore” ( although it is in Waukegan) will be the starting off spot for a new tour as Ian Anderson, known through out the world of “rock music” as the flute and voice of “Jethro Tull” celebrates 48 years in the industry. Funny, isn’t it! When I was a youngster thinking about making “show biz” my life’s work, my parents always said that this is a short life span, many as they called them “flash in the pan” stars. Yet, as the years go by, we see that many of these performers are still out there “doing their thing”; Mick Jagger, Paul McArtney, The Buckinghams, Chicago and yes, Ian Anderson- “Jethro Tull”.
With more than 30 albums, selling more than 60 million records, this troupe has become a legend that continues to thrill their old fans while adding new fans to the mix. In some cases, generational. Irv, An old friend of mine, who is nearing the magical 60 year mark, has a son who just graduated college and is a fan of Jethro Tull, himself. While it may seem an oddity to many, this type of base can happen for many of the performers of yesterday, still taking the stage today. The music they created has a much longer shelf life than the” hip-hop” and “Rap”.
Anderson and his group make music that is accepted by many who are not into “rock”. One of the reasons just might be Anderson infusing the flute into this music. He can play not only regular flute, but has introduced ethnic flutes and whistles along with the acoustic guitar and mandolin, which is part of the uniqueness of the “Tull” repertoire. He has recorded several albums on his own and has toured simply as Ian Anderson, working with orchestras, string quartets and featured soloists.
I was supposed to have a full- blown interview with him this afternoon, but due to time constraints it had to be put off. He resides in England ( well, a farm southwest of England), but he did manage to make contact with me today. I was in a rather noisy spot, so we will continue our interview prior to his coming to Waukegan at The Genesee, Friday. April 1st at 8 p.m. for the start of their Midwest tour. This is the show that played at The Chicago Theatre last November as “Jethro Tull, The Rock Opera”. Anderson explained in our conversation today, the “Rock Opera” may have turned some people off, so they dropped it. The music will still be exciting and I for one am looking forward to heading up to Waukegan Friday.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at all their outlets or www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone 1-800-982-2787
The Genesee is located at 203 N. Genesee Street in downtown Waukegan ( just south of route 132/Grand Avenue) with plenty of parking. This is a glorious theater and I am sure you will find this show an experience that you will remember for years to come.
On Monday (yesterday) I did have a much longer conversation with Ian. In fact, over 25 minutes of very long distance-from England to Rogers Park (and I in my car, on my cell phone). We spoke about how our lives have changed thru the “hi-tech” world we live in today. The “stage” is now a wireless one so they have to drain and recharge the batteries very often. We spoke about the old expression , where when we said “recharge our batteries” we meant rest, take a nap of perhaps get a good night’s slumber. Ian has TWO Doctorate’s, so I did ask if I should call him Dr. Anderson. He chuckled and said “no way”!
It was not a typical interview, far more relaxed and I was able to see a different side to a “Rock Star “(perhaps “legend”). We talked about how he makes his own travel planes using the marvelous computer, just as we do. His wife, Shona, works with him and travels on the tours as well. They prefer not doing the “bus and truck” portion of the tour, instead using Limos and car services. Let’s face it, our older bones do not handle busses and trains as they did back in the 1960’s.We talked about computers, cameras, electronics, backstage facilities (it seems many venues are redone and spectacular in the lobby and seating area, yet the performers share a dingy bathroom). I assured him that the Genesee took that into account.
I am hopeful that he will perform music from his flute instrumental “Divinities “Friday night, but no matter what Jethro Tull brings to the stage in Waukegan, it will be a night to remember for those who follow this group and a new start for the newcomers who have just found the magic that we call Jethro Tull”. Thank you Ian Anderson!