Another Programme, Another Tour

musicians1-2

Looking back over the thirty years of  “proper” tours which J. Tull have carried out, there has been a bewildering array of programmes to accompany them.

The earliest were produced by third parties in almost laughable disregard for accuracy or value for money, in a cheesy, amateurish parody of British show-biz values.

Later, when the tours and the programmes came under the control of band rather than record company or management, a degree of inventiveness and detailed professionalism ensured that the buck was not passed, but better spent.

These days, any meaningful touring band should benefit from slick, computer-driven graphics and sharp, glossy photographs scanned at ever-increasing resolutions.  Thankfully, we all rightly expect quality and quantity from the tour programme, this arch competitor to the humble but ever-present T-shirt and silly baseball cap. Before you part with dosh, wonga, greenback or Amex, think how lucky you are to be living in this age of concerned responsibility, when all merchandisers and bands alike take on the full weighty task of giving you, the esteemed consumer, goods and services which you have come to expect in the face of so many demands for your custom.

Bollocks, balderdash and bunkum I hear you begin to say.

Well, we are trying to live up to something, anyway. Personally, I haven’t seen a really decent tour programme from any other artist in the last twenty years, but then, I don’t get out much any more.

This programme does not feature prize-winning competitions such as treasure hunts, crosswords or other constraints to its useful life, since it must work for a period of nine months, or so, to take us beyond the release of the Ian Anderson solo release “The Secret Language Of Birds”.

Instead, it brings you photos galore, from various lenses but featuring the work of meister-snapper, Martyn Goddard, together with text contributions of varied sorts, all sorted and graphically juxtaposed for maximum impact by Bogdan Zarkowski, who enjoys working for us so much that I had to plead with him to actually send an invoice this time.

You may encounter the beaming and benevolent  demeanour of Tom Lynch, who as the Jolly Swagman, will reluctantly exchange sartorial treasures in return for a Euro/Dollar or two and the promise of an introduction to your younger sister. He may be accompanied by Jackie McSmith, who cycled his way across several continents some years ago, from unfettered freedom to a life of drudgery and corruption as assistant to Tom. Both of these ne’er-do-wells work for Adrian Hopkins of Chester-Hopkins International. I believe this organisation is some kind of merchant bank, or investment trust, but I’m not sure. T-shirts are, I believe, just some sideline.

Thanks go to Kenny Wylie, the Tull production manager who has worked with us for the last 25 years and to all the various suppliers of musical equipment and services who you will find mentioned elsewhere.

The decision to include some material from our official web-site,

www.jethrotull.com was taken after careful consideration. Some folks might feel cheated at reading these words again if they are regular readers of our site, but since there are so many who do not regularly, if ever, have access to the web, especially in Europe, this is an opportunity to see examples of the often changing site content.

Finally, as we cross paths with many of you for the umpteenth time, we hope that you will enjoy the concert and that you will allow us to visit you again. Another tour, another programme. What direction next time? Do you realise that you will soon be eligible for air miles? Loyalty cards? Special on-stage seating and access to the courtesy drinks trolley? Wannabe Martin’s running buddy?  Wannabe my pussy-cat?  Wanna take a Tull home for tea? Garlic with Perry, Becks with Giddings, Italian lessons with Noyce. Think of the creative and commercial possibilities awaiting us in the new millennium.

Hey, I’m just the flute player.

IA