Arriving at Laugardalshöllin to see the Ian Anderson concert, I felt like this was the opening night at an oversized old folks’ home. Most of the people there had 50 or 60 years of experience listening to music, many still believed they had a full set of hair and talked loudly about the Led Zeppelin concert in Iceland some 30 years ago. Tonight, you knew they would go home after the show and watch Easy Rider and light up a joint they’ve been saving since Woodstock. Like many of the younger people there, I went to this concert with a parent.
This was not Ian Anderson’s first visit to Iceland. Jethro Tull played at Akranes in 1992. At that time, only 12 years old, I decided to see Black Sabbath, who were also playing the previous night. I have always regretted my decision not to see Jethro Tull. Now, finally, I had a chance to make up for it.
The show started, and I thought to myself, what have I gotten myself into, an instrumental Irish ethnic concert. I felt no nostalgia, only sickness. The first song was some crap from Anderson’s solo album. He managed to save face with some good humour. Then he started playing one of Jethro Tull’s classics “Living in the Past.” But a smile turned into a frown when I discovered that Ian Anderson was like many of the people watching, burned out. His flute playing was really good, but so what? People could have seen Joanna Newsom and Coco Rosie for the same amount they paid for this fiasco. Then came the violins and orchestra. Then a young and sexy solo violin player by the name of Lucia Micharelli was introduced. She played a song from the Godfather soundtrack in gypsy style. I was really moved and then Anderson started playing his wretched flute. I just wanted to shout at him and tell him were he could stick that flute.
Ian Anderson kept on making people laugh at the expense of Lucia Micharelli. He started off when she bent over to pick up her violin with the great middle-aged man one-liner “Please don’t bend over.” Then he introduced a song she was going to play called “She Is Like the Swallow” with, “I didn’t say she likes to swallow, come on.”
He was like a dirty old man. Lucia smiled at his every joke, but I think it was more out of pity for the man who could once in his life get every girl he wanted but was now reduced to harassing the hired help.
Lucia played a solo composition by Sibelius. I got goose bumps in the good way. And there was no sound but the emotional breathtaking violin playing of Lucia, the 22-year-old goddess. Watching her for two hours would’ve been worth the price of admission. She touched me in a way that no woman has ever touched me. I cried. There was no escaping it, and, for three minutes, my life was complete. Then started that damned flute, once appealing, now, like Coldplay, just irritating.
Mozart’s Rondo alla Turka was to be the victim of Mr. Anderson’s cruellest of jokes. Ian raped Mozart that night. This was yet another joke that went too far.
The high point of the night was Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” mixed in with Micharelli’s interpretation of Jimmy Page’s guitar solo from “Whole Lotta Love.” Just when I was starting to enjoy myself it turned out that Ian Anderson was not satisfied with raping classical songs, he also wanted to rape his own once and that’s a little like incest, the greatest crime of all. The musicians were great but not even the immaculate sex appeal of Lucia could make up for Anderson’s awful singing, which could best be described as Dylan with Tourette’s syndrome. People got a good show and seemed to like it, but, then again, people are idiots. People like the Eurovision song contest.
Finally, the concert was over and people stomped and applauded, maybe because he was leaving. At least that’s the reason I clapped. Then came the encore, and I fell asleep. I woke up and witnessed Mr. Anderson sexually assaulting one of his songs. This time one of my favourites “Locomotive Breath.” I walked out.