September 7, 2016 Howard Jones Turns Back The Clock At The Paramount Huntington, NY 9-2-16
Howard Jones, born John Howard Jones on February 23, 1955 in Southampton, Hampshire, England, was an ’80s and early ’90s staple on Pop and modern Rock radio. Garnering ten top 40 hit singles in the UK between 1983 and 1986, including five which reached the top ten, across the world, he notched 15 Top 40 singles and has been lauded as a defining figure in Synth-Pop. Although, Jones’ success was not limited to the UK and parts of Europe, he achieved almost instant success here in The States. Though his first single, “New Song” reached the Top 5 in the UK, it reached the Top 30 in the U.S., no small feat for a debut offering from an unknown British act.
During the ensuing years, Jones released a number of critically and popularly acclaimed albums including 1986’s One to One, 1989’s Cross That Line, 1992’s In the Running, and 1994’s Live Acoustic America. In addition to the songs already mentioned, over the course of his career, Jones has had success with the singles “You Know I Love You Don’t You?,” “Everlasting Love,” “Look Mama,” “The Prisoner,” “I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World),” “What Is Love?,” “Lift Me Up,” and “Pearl In The Shell.” History aside, Jones has not slowed down one bit in the new millennium as he continues to tour, create new music, and be on the cutting edge of music technology. Realizing during the early stages of the internet that a major label was no longer necessary to reach an audience, Jones was one of the first to delivery music digitally to fans. In addition, he was one of the first to be hands on in communication via the internet to fans, assuring while he would not be attaining radio airplay, that he would be connecting with his core base for years to come.
Now in 2016, he continues to diversify, releasing the album Engage in 2015 and touring alongside Barenaked Ladies and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark through the summer months. With little break in between, Jones continued into a handful of headlining gigs, and with that, he returned to one of his favorite destinations here on the East Coast, The Paramount in Huntington, New York. Visiting the venue for a bundle of times through the years, for two-and-one-half hours on the warm Friday evening of September 2nd, Jones successfully turned back time for an enthusiastic crowd that came to hear him perform his hits.
Looking quite dapper in a black leather jacket, over a white t-shirt featuring a green dinosaur, and black jeans, while playing a Korg keytar, Jones entered and bounded around the stage. Toward the end of the first song, a wayward cord on the stage tripped him up and he propelled backwards, ending up in a seated position. Amazingly, the singer did not miss a beat and continued playing as though nothing happened while roadies taped down the offending wires. Jones’ high-energy performance belied his sixty-one years. Moving with the grace and fluidity of a much younger man, the singer delighted the crowd with an opening combination of “Pearl in the Shell,” “The Prisoner,” and “Eagle Will Fly Again.”
Jones, his drummer, and a keyboard/laptop accompanist updated the beats and synthesizer programming to deliver a performance that in addition to calling to mind a simpler time, breathed a somewhat more modern life into the songs. In addition to the ever-so-slightly re-imagined arrangements, the fast-paced and multi-media video playing behind the musicians made for a surreal and engaging show. Jones is never one to stay put. He is always creating, always morphing, and always growing. That said, the show featured two new tunes entitled “Joy” and “The Human Touch.” These songs fit into the set well, sandwiched between older pieces such as “Hide And Seek” and the beautiful “No One Is to Blame.”
Following “No One Is To Blame,” Jones got down to the nitty and the gritty, treating the adoring crowd to a killer sequence of “You Know I Love You Don’t You?,” “Like To Get To Know You Well,” “Everlasting Love,” “Life In One Day,” “What Is Love?,” along with “New Song.” The latter had even the most hardened and casual fans jumping, bopping, pogoing, and dancing across the floor. Always a delight to see a positive reaction from the audience, Jones was very happy to see this as evidenced by the huge grin on his beaming face.
Wrapping things up nicely, the evening ended with “Things Can Only Get Better,” performed in its original arrangement and in a nod to modern Synth-Pop, Jones reprised the tune with a coda. Always a welcomed visitor on Long Island, Jones headed across The Sound for one final North America show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut on September 4th before returning home to England. With a run of shows scheduled in Australia this November, Jones will return to the US briefly before the end of 2016 and he will set sail a part of 80’s Cruise 2017 come February, so get tickets now.Photo credit: Christine Connallon Photography