The first time I listened to this, I was reminded of Emerson Lake and Palmer and their take on Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. We have all experienced it one way or another. The Megastar Rock God, so filled with the blandishments of their entourage, they believe they can branch out into what some would call "serious music".
This is different. Yes, Ian Anderson does paint a series of rich emotive scenes with his flute (no vocals). Yes, the obligatory full orchestral support is there, adding further layers of mood to already evocative scenes. Yes, inspiration for the most part has come from "country music" of one form or another from different parts of the world.
This really did take me to the Olive Garden, I could see the Minaret and feel the waves of heat En Afrique. The opening track In a Stone Circle is redolent with power, reflecting off the stones and back in counterpoint. The album mood changes in tempo, style and technique. This is a very clever body of work indeed and will reward repeat listenings.