ATHENS – A full moon, a packed Theater of Herodus Atticus, a light breeze, good friends, and an amazing concert. That counts as a perfect night in anyone’s book, and when it’s wrapped in an elaborate musical bow of 50 years of hits by Jethro Tull, it was an evening no one wanted to end and everyone enjoyed.
Ian Anderson, the legendary band’s founder, raced back and forth across the stage on June 14, enchanting with his magical traverse flute and stories of a musical lifetime presented with a Puckish intensity – why not, Puck, Oberon and Titania of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream fame cavort in the nearby forests of Athens – and Dionysian frenzy – of course: the Theater of Dionysus was just down the block.
The superb lighting added dashes and splashes of color to the ancient Greco-Roman stones – on which were projected greetings and tributes by past band members and other rock star personal friends of Anderson – the show was part of the great Progressive/Classical Rock band’s 50th anniversary tour.
The 5000 fans, Greeks and non-Greeks, were thrilled with the show – but there was one burst of applause dedicated to a non-musician: Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the main opposition party that is leading in polls ahead of crucial July 7 national elections made time during his exhausting campaign to take in the performance with his wife Mareva – but the rest of the evening’s highlights were all musical.
The genius of Anderson and his colleagues and the cause of their 5 decades-long (and counting) run is the genre-bending and genre leaping creativity that mirrors his dancing and prancing onstage. Jethro Tull blends into rock not just blues and folk music, along with jolts of jazz, but classical music too – the classic they put in to their rock comes direct from the likes of J.S. Bach and goes as far back as songs composed by King Henry VIII himself.
Surely the night did not end at 11:30 for the guests or the performers – a lovely Athenian night beckoned with hundreds of venues beneath a million stars.