turkey, titans and tull

jethro tull 1977: john evan, martin barre, david palmer, john glasscock, ian anderson and barriemore barlow.

jethro tull 1977: john evan, martin barre, david palmer, john glascock, ian anderson and barriemore barlow.

Thanksgiving afternoon.

An annual Turkey Day tradition is underway: watching the Detroit Lions get carved up as a holiday feast for whatever NFL team that gets invited to dinner. This year’s guest is the 10-1 Tennessee Titans. At halftime, the Lions were down 35-10.

That almost prompted some channel surfing until the halftime show had teen-pop star Jesse McCartney merrily leading a squadron of smiling youths through the pseudo-reggae grooves of his hit Leavin’.

Maybe it was the occasion (it certainly wasn’t the music), but I found myself trying to recall if I ever had to cover a concert on Thanksgiving. There have been numerous instances of being called upon on Thanksgiving Eve. Two years ago, for example, there was a homecoming performance in Louisville by My Morning Jacket. As recently as last year, B.B. King played the Singletary Center just before Turkey Day. But only one time comes to mind of being on duty Thanksgiving night.

The year was 1977. I was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky. Rupp had been open a little over a year. The Thanksgiving headliner: Jethro Tull.

Having recovered a copy of the very primitive review I wrote of the show for the Kentucky Kernel, this fact presented itself:

+ Ticket prices were $7 and $8.

Among college-aged crowds at the time, Tull was already a relic, although I still held considerable respect for the band. Still do, as Tull continues to tour. But with the debut albums by Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, The Sex Pistols and former Lexingtonian Richard Hell all hitting stores in the months leading up to the show, a new rock generation was storming the castle Tull and others had occupied over the previous decade.

The Kernel’s photographer summed up the attitude best at intermission, having snapped Tull’s flute-playing frontman Ian Anderson leaping about the Rupp stage. “He looks like my father,” she said in a voice that oozed indifference.

Not that any of this mattered to Anderson and company. The show drew over 12,000 fans – a respectable number any night of the year

After scouring of reviews of Tull’s U.S. tour last summer, this fact presented itself.

+ Tickets prices were $64.50 and $84.50.

An update: deep into the 4th quarter, the Titans continue to beat the ever-loving turkey stuffing out of the hapless Lions. The score is now 47-10.

Meanwhile, Tull is spending this Thanksgiving in India. It performs tonight in Kolkata, in case you’re in the neighborhood.

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