In the shuffling madness of the Locomotive Breath, a stranger from across the pond arrived at station stop Red Bank eleven years ago — prepped to bring an intimate evening of song and story to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, and preceded by a newspaper interview that dared to offer pointed opinions on President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Iraq incursion, and the American penchant for flag-waving in general.
That bit of commentary got the longtime linchpin of prog-rock pioneers Jethro Tull booed at the Basie and other dates on his fall 2003 tour — but apparently undaunted and undampened in spirit, Ian Anderson would return multiple times to the Monmouth Street landmark that’s become a comfortable cradle for his rather unique blend of baroque pop stylings, bop jazz accents, British folk blues, and hypercurrent references. This Sunday night, November 9, the bearded bard is back on the Basie boards, for a program that promises to chase “The Best of Tull” with a thorough examination of his newest, self-released solo effort, Homo-Erraticus.
If you’re a certain-age consumer who snatched up Tull releases like Aqualung, War Child and Too Old to Rock and Roll…Too Young to Die when they first hit the record store racks — or even if you’re a more recently minted collector of polyvinyl platters — you surely paused for a closer look when you first encountered the ambitious Tull epic Thick as a Brick and its one-of-a-kind cover that unfolded into an entire fake newspaper. Scattered throughout were mentions of one Gerald Bostock, a boy-genius poet prodigy who allegedly wrote the album-length epic that baffled fans (and mortified rock radio programmers) in 1972 — and forty years later, Anderson would revisit his alter ego with the inevitable Thick as a Brick 2.
Released last April, Homo Erraticus continues the Bostock saga, in a way that blends flutey and familiar Jethro Tull elements with semi-automatic salvos aimed at social media platforms, instantly obsolete tech, soon-obsolete humans, and the anymore eternal state of war. Like recent Basie visitor Chrissie Hynde, Anderson will be showcasing tunes from the new release this Sunday — and again like Hynde, he’ll be expected to chase it all with an ample sampling of standards from his old band.
Tickets for the 7 pm performance ($59 – $129) are available right here.