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Ian Anderson shuts down miming claims

Jethro Tull rock opera includes recorded guests - but mainman lists stats to prove he’s perfoming live

Ian Anderson has moved to shut down claims that he’s been miming during his Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera shows.

He describes the idea as “utter tosh” and adds that he’s done some research to provide statistics that prove his argument.

Anderson says: “A few silly, unobservant people have concluded that the show is either all pre-recorded vocals, or at best, I’m singing about 30% of the words.

“The show was constructed to allow about a third of the performance to be the domain of pre-recorded video guests.

“I have done a count of all lines of lyrics that I sing – both the total of the whole show, and the songs minus recitatives. With recits there are 589 lines of lyrics, and I sing in 395, or 67%. Without recits there are 500 lines and I sing 364, or 73%.”

He says it amounts to more live singing than he’d deliver in a one-hour festival set, and about the same as a 90-minute performance.

Anderson continues: “Perhaps audience members are watching the guests on the video screen rather than me, standing in front singing and playing live. But that's what the guests are there for – to add to the entertainment value and sing in character as per the story.”

He adds: “Looking on the bright side, if it appears to some folk that my contributions as a vocalist are pre-recorded, then I must be doing a half-way decent job of singing it live! 

“Trust me – if you see me with my mouth open and bulging eyes, it's real. Oh, and so is the flute.”

Anderson launches a South American tour this week, before appearing at the Jack Bruce memorial show in London on October 24, then touring North America and Europe. He plays Christmas shows at Lincoln Cathedral on December 10 and St Albans Cathedral on December 11. He’ll appear at HRH Prog IV in Wales next March.

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