The overambition thing was what got Tull drubbed by the critics during its mid-Seventies golden age. Coming out with operatic hooey such as '73's Passion Play was just asking for trouble, but it was also what made them worth listening to in the first place. Sure, it sounds ridiculous now. Even at the time, there was always a nervous twinge of self-awareness (the band included a mock review of their own album in the Thick as a Brick liner that pointed out their fondness for "ugly changes of time signature and banal instrumental passages"). Laugh all you want now, but the magic of Jethro Tull was a real thing for every kid like Mike who saw, for the first time, a world of mystery and bad intent in a six-note guitar riff and a crazy man with a flute.
Jethro Tull performs Saturday, March 30, at Sunrise Musical Theatre, 5555 NW 95th Ave; 741-7300. Showtime is 8:00. Tickets cost $23.