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Tull News September 1999
The US dates began in Hampton Beach, at the Casino -- a glorified club with tables arranged in the Germanic tradition for the beer drinking fraternity to get neck-ache from, given the sideways-on orientation to the stage. Boston, the following day, was a relatively normal semi-outdoor tented gig by the harbour, and the tour felt like it had now really begun.
Opening act, Vyktoria Pratt Keating, braved the first few days, not knowing what to expect, but the crowd were respectful and appreciative of the diminutive feminine songstress with her quirky, creative music and humorous between-numbers banter. Andrew Giddings joined her on stage for the last few concerts.
The new record, j-tull Dot Com, was released on schedule and the recognition of the new material, particularly "Spiral", was almost immediate. Other new tracks played on the tour, so far, include "AWOL", "Hunt By Numbers", "Dot Com", and "Wicked Windows". The "new" old songs department has featured "The Witch's Promise", "Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square", and a few more oldies have been tried out at soundcheck for inclusion in the next few weeks. "Hunting Girl" has proved popular with the Americans the Jig from "A Passion Play" gets them clapping along.
With several outdoor shows in the last three weeks, there has been concern at the recent hurricane and tropical storm events, but luckily, only a couple of the shows have been adversely affected by the weather, and those had covered seating for the audience. After the worst of the weather days, in Baltimore, we chose to cancel flights on a small aircraft to Syracuse and opted for the long drive instead, with some of the band members going on the crew bus overnight. Better safe than sorry. See elsewhere on this site for the Wilkes-Barre story.
Given the enormous amount of promotional interviews which I have undertaken in the last few weeks, there ought to be a good degree of awareness regarding the new record and tour dates, and the record companies on both sides of the Atlantic must be congratulated for applying themselves to the task. Even EMI has kicked in with re-released catalogue items in the last week or so, and have helped out greatly with promotion for the US dates.
The record is doing well in Europe, especially in Germany where it is number 15 in the charts, whatever they are. Lots of interest from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and tour dates are now being confirmed for April/May, 2000, to take in Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Warsaw, Pilsen, Ostrava, Bratislava and Ljubljana. South and Central America are being considered for later in the pre-summer period.
A new single featuring an unreleased studio track, "It All Trickles Down", is scheduled for November in the UK and possibly elsewhere.
Concerts dates in Europe are shown elsewhere on this site and Kenny Wylie and I are busy with the finishing touches to those tour schedules which take in theatres in many capital and major cities throughout October, November and December. January brings a welcome week off before the promotion begins for the February release of the Ian Anderson solo album, "The Secret Language Of Birds". The artwork for SLOB was approved today and the master tapes go off to the record companies next week. US tours with Tull featuring new IA solo songs as well will be confirmed for the period of February/March.
The second half of this current US tour begins in Denver at a brand new venue, and the usual acclimatisation period of an extra day before the show (to allow for the mile-high altitude and the time change) will hopefully produce a good start to the rest of these shows. We get to visit Spokane, Boise and Missoula after Denver, and we pray for unseasonal warm and sunny weather, since the shows are outdoors and it could get a little chilly in the evening. If the old flute is out of tune (silver, not the pink one), then it will be the cold weather blues: the poor player can only puff some warmth into the thing, and hope for the best.
Martin Barre has been poorly of late, having been rushed into hospital after the show in Detroit, with a recurrence, they thought, of a stomach condition which afflicted him a few years ago. Back this week in England for a minor operation and tests, he is feeling much better and hopes to be back on the staple diet of goat vindaloo before too long.
Hope to see many of you during the next months somewhere in our concert series. Give us a wave from the front row.
England, 18th September 1999.
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