Ian Anderson on Rubbing Elbows
Imagine a slightly saucy talk show with too much music: or a music concert with a tendency to wander off into obscure spoken topics and with the comings and goings of some odd bods, waifs and strays from the world of radio, local media and musicians. Somewhere between lies the format of “Rubbing Elbows With Ian Anderson”.
Having completed a trial run of 11 shows in Eastern USA during October 2002, I am ready to refine and polish up the concept for more major market dates in the not too distant future.
It was one of the most fun things I have done in music since I started thirty-five years ago. Someone described the show as having the hallmarks of traditional music hall entertainment. Ian Anderson as stand-up comic? Well, no – not exactly, although the humorous moments visit with regularity. The unpredictability of working with different co-hosts from local radio each night plus the visits to the comfy sofa from invited members of the audience make for an interesting and focus-ensuring mindset on the part of truly-yours.
Local musical guests are duly flattered to have their song learned (more or less) by me and the band and have a sympathetic audience remember their names the next day.
A local celebrity makes an appearance to talk briefly on any topic and we gently question each other on matters of intimate personal revelation.
Anecdotes and diatribes punctuate the musical performances of around twenty songs and instrumentals played in amplified acoustic style by my new pals from the local West of England music scene. Tull acoustic gems from albums like Aqualung, Stand-up, Songs From The Wood and Thick As A Brick provide the basis of the evening with a healthy helping of material from my solo records, Divinities and Secret Language Of Birds.
Toss in a couple of brand new things and some reworked Tull rockers and we have a musical mix to gratify the fan who has regularly seen Tull over the years but not necessarily heard these tunes – whether in this context or even at all.
I have been greatly pleased with the huge number of e-mails received from people who have seen the show and expressed their congratulations and enjoyment of the concert format. Thank you all for letting me know how it came across to you.
Thanks also to the folks who helped organise the details – my agent Brad Goodman at William Morris, Len and Marty at Fuel 200 Records, our hard-working Production Manager Kenny Wylie, local promoters, the venues, radio stations and press and media and those kind people who loaned us their precious stand-up bass.
Special thanks to the people mentioned below who appeared on stage with me over the 11 nights and bravely participated in (from their point of view) an uncertain and slightly scary evening. Oh, OK – from my point of view too………
Tuesday 8th October: Milwaukee Pabst Theater
Radio personality: Steve Palec
Musical guest: Daryl Stuermer
Non-musical guest: Jim Lombardo
Double bass provider: Steve Kleiber
Thursday 10th October: Kalamazoo State Theatre
Radio personalities: Mike Michelli & Tony Gates
Musical guest: Donny Brown
Non-musical guest: Mike Trigg
Double bass provider: Tim Stoddaker with help from Rick Davies
Friday 11th October: Toledo Peristyle Theatre
Radio personalities: Mark Benson & Micki Morgret
Musical guest: John Barille & Mark Karamol
Non-musical guest: Bill Horman
Double bass provider: Karen Stenger
Saturday 12th October: Cincinnati Music Hall/Grand Ballroom
Radio personalities: Gary Jeff Walker & Ken Glidewell
Musical guest: Mark Messerly & Brian Ewing
Non-musical guest: Mark Rogers
Double bass provider: Brent Stiles
Sunday 13th October: Easton State Theatre
Radio personalities: Bearman & Keith
Musical guest: Ricky Bell + Mary Youngblood
Non-musical guest: Ray The Amish Comic
Double bass provider: Glenn Roberts
Tuesday 15th October: Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Radio personality: Bob Wolf
Musical guest: Kevin Thompson
Non-musical guest: John Tilton
Double bass provider: Rick Eckberg
Wednesday 16th October: Wilmington Grand Opera House
Radio personalities: Paul Schmidt
Musical guest: Chris Gordon & Joe Trainor
Non-musical guest: Robert Martinelli
Double bass provider: Doug Mapp
Thursday 17th October: Tarrytown Music Hall
Radio personalities: Steve Utterback & Todd Mack
Musical guest: Bar Scott
Non-musical guest: Joe Queenan
Double bass provider: None – not a popular instrument in T-town.
Friday 18th October: Keene Colonial Theatre
Radio personalities: Fish & Dina K
Musical guest: Susan Angeletti
Non-musical guest: Robert Holmes
Double bass provider: Kirk Sanger
Saturday 19th October: Ridgefield Playhouse
Radio personalities: Kristine Stone & Glenn with 2 N’s
Musical guest: Jeremy Scott (and also Shannyn May – the flute girl)
Non-musical guest: Bob Kaufman
Double bass provider: Andrei Lopukhin
Sunday 20th October: Poughkeepsie Bardavon
Radio personalities: Marc Cooper & Mikey Colvin
Musical guest: Lester Dinwiddy & Jimmy Eppard
Non-musical guest: Tom Murphy
Double bass provider: Kevin Callaghan
Quite a list, huh? And only 11 shows, too. Plus six audience members each night and you get an idea of the details we have to sort out before each performance. Makes Letterman look easy. Or, at least not so difficult. But he has better dress sense than me. And an ambitious tailor. But I do my own laundry.
Now, if I could persuade Sting, Bruce and Elton to do a Rubbing Elbows format to my model – well, hell – I might even co-present and arrange the whole damn thing for them. What a buzz.
But in the meantime, see you soon, rubbing elbows in a theatre near you.