Through nearly 60 years of ups, downs, lineup changes, and stylistic switches, Jethro Tull has held a place in the public’s music consciousness thanks to one mesmerizing constant: Ian Anderson’s fabulous flute. That is as true today as it’s ever been, and Jethro Tull made that abundantly clear during a recent stop at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles along the Seven Decades tour.

Across two sets, backed by his current support of Joe Parrish on guitar, David Goodier on bass, John O’Hara on keys, and Scott Hammond on drums, Ian guided the audience on a carefully curated tour of Jethro Tull’s catalog, from 1967 to 2023, with the help of his trusty woodwind.

There were callbacks to the group’s earlier days in the late ‘60s with “Nothing Is Easy”, “We Used to Know”, and Anderson’s jazzy rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Bourree”. They paid surprisingly heavy homage to Jethro Tull’s more recent releases—including “Hunt By Numbers” off 1999’s J-Tull Dot Com, “Holly Herald” from 2003’s The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, “Mine is the Mountain” and the title track of 2022’s The Zealot Gene, and “Hammer on Hammer” and “The Navigators” courtesy of 2023’s RokFlote.

Not that Tull gave short shrift to their glory years in between.

Living in the Past (1972) made an appearance by way of “Sweet Dream”. “Heavy Horses” and “Dark Ages” gave voice to the group’s folk-rock era of the late 1970s. Crest of a Knave (1987)—the source of Jethro Tull’s only Grammy win—made a welcome cameo with “Farm on the Freeway.” And, of course, the band’s golden age took center stage with a revised version of “Aqualung” to close out the second set and the iconic “Locomotive Breath” as the encore.

Along the way, Ian fashioned the show as part rock concert, part recital.

Before and between each song, he treated the crowd to stories and context around their origins—when he wasn’t busy reminding sneaky attendees to keep their phones tucked away (as needed). During each track, the screen behind the band flashed with video montages to match, from Clydesdales plowing fields to tales from Norse mythology and depictions of people suffering on the streets.

To be sure, the show wasn’t without its glaring absences, key members aside. Those in the stands who came expecting to hear unforgettable hits like “Bungle in the Jungle”, “Thick as a Brick”, and “Living in the Past” likely left the Greek in disappointment.

Related: Billy Strings Dusts Off Jethro Tull Classic In Jam-Packed Idaho Tour Opener [Video]

For those songs that made the cut, Anderson’s vocals seemed to suffer under the strain of both his age (he turned 76 in August) and a recent bout with COVID-19, which he mentioned during the performance.

Those caveats aside (or perhaps included), that constant of Ian’s flute was not only present, but spectacularly so. Each song provided its own palette and canvas with which Anderson expertly painted brilliant soundscapes. He even managed to dance and kick out his legs during some of his flute solos.

Jethro Tull is scheduled to touch nearly every corner of the globe—from the U.S., U.K., and Europe to Dubai and Brazil—between now and May 2024.

And while the band and its central figure may not be what they used to, what they are, still, is a worthwhile proprietor of timeless music that deserves the attention and support of anyone who’s keen on prog rock.

Jethro Tull – “Aqualung” – 9/27/23

[Video: Dan Dore]

Jethro Tull – “Locomotive Breath” – 9/27/23

[Video: Dan Dore]

Jethro Tull – “Nothing Is Easy” – 9/27/23

[Video: Dan Dore]

Jethro Tull – “Bourrée In E Minor” – 9/27/23

[Video: Dan Dore]