Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Back to the Eighties, Howard Jones:

A gig it was impossible to turn down, 27 years on from seeing the Dream into Action tour with Mom and Dad for my 13th Birthday, he was back in town to play the full album and humans lib at the dome.

Posting this fact on Facebook also revealed a lot of love for Howard and memories being rekindled from as far away as Thailand.

Getting there we were greeted by large merchandise banners telling us about the £35, £30 and £20 box sets on offer, a little rich for my taste no matter how well remastered the albums sounded.

Settled in with cooking lager, on walked Howard, but actual fact it was a baldy man reemphasising the value of the box sets, and telling us that real Howard Jones fans felt his new album was the best he has ever done - the inference being I suppose I am not a real fan, pah

Then on came 2 chaps behind a bank of electric drums and computer, neither Howard but they played a mash up of the first album, leaving me concerned that the actual album would be reinterpreted, but no, on bounced Howard, looking mad professor, large forehead and red leather jacket - back to the eighties is on.

The gig kicked off with a personal favourite Automaton and the song took me right back to the days of lp heavy rotation, on Mom and Dads old stereo in my room, with clicks and pops and wirrs. A time when I had maybe 4 records to my name.

A nice touch to the songs were the backing videos. Not the most amazing but well thought through, Automaton launching with a video showing a massive Howard Head looking very Holly from Red Dwarf.

We got lots of discussion between songs, things like when recording Dream into Action, at the playback to the record company they slated it for no hits and HJ went home in a panic to write life in one day over night for a massive smash. Another touching story was how HJ's Mum (82 years old now) being part of the fan club and writing letters to fans, and particularly HJ being given a scrap book from a fan (clearing space) and finding letters from his Mom he had never read.

A massive part of the 80's was Jed the mime artist for HJ and he was there, in spirit with 2 of he films featuring him, the first a miming of eating dinner at a table in silhouette (Jed's a little more portly now) and then in the second half a cracking video where a split screen head of Jed was incredibly expressive, one all colourful, one black and white, both looking aged.

What else jumped out, the sing alongside, HJ would wander to the front Nd lead lots of sing songs and the crowd were transported back, as was HJ to the NEC, and the filming of LiF in one da live at the concert by the man who went on to direct Michael Jacksons videos.

After a half our interval, HJ was back with Humans Lib, after another baldy man sales pitch, and confirming from back stage that he had reached 10,000 followers on twitter.

Other things, a false start on one song to prove it was all live, the fat chap on keyboards playing media ski poles - bizarre and in line with HJ's experimentation in the 80's, that's one of he things hat grabbed me he was always so forward looking with his music, which when he came out for the encore with his guitar keyboard, cutting edge to retro in a mere 27 years.

The keyboard guitar encore was for New Song, not hard to guess the encore being the massive hit and only song missing from the run through of Humans Lib, HJ walked us through it in a slow appreciation the blasted out a massive sing along.

Ending on a high, I absolutely loved HJ way back when, and played Dream into Action and Humans Lib (a cassette copy) no end.

A real value for money gig and whilst not quite back to 1985 in a Delorean,

Was I tempted with the mega bucks box sets?

No I picked up Humans Lib on vinyl off eBay for 99p, which was the album and format I had coveted back in the eighties.

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