Ian Anderson and the Neue Philharmonic Frankfurt conducted by John O’ Hara is a real treat if you are a fan of classical music meeting rock and roll. It’s also a treat if you are a fan of Jethro Tull and Anderson’s solo work. For me it all applies, as I look at experiences like this as something unique to enjoy. It is nothing that has not been heard before obviously, it’s just a real turn of the tables watching Ian on stage with a full orchestra performing all the familiar Tull tracks with an entirely different twist.
Anderson is the first to admit he cannot sing and his voice has not weathered well. Even so, the presentation he makes is still excellent, and he remains one of the premiere flute players in the world. He interestingly enough starts off the concert with a rousing version of “Eurology” from his solo album Rupi’s Dance (2003), which turns out to be a great way to start the proceedings. “Aqualung” was the most enjoyable track by far though. Anderson mentions before the song starts, without announcing the title, that many folks do not recognize the song until its well into the first few minutes. Due to the adventurous reorganization of the composition and the top notch orchestra complementing Andersons’s flute, this version was a great success. “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day” and “Locomotive Breath” were other highlights.
Florian Opahle is not Martin Barre but the youngster does an exceptional job on both acoustic and electric guitar. The DVD tracks are sequenced in the same order as the double CD with the exception of some interviews with Anderson that are very revealing, however, the in between song conversations are cut out of the CD version. In the end, I wish I could have been there to see Ian Anderson and the Neue Philharmonic Frankfurt myself, as this release proves that good DVDs do indeed give you one of the best seats in the house.